The Oil Sands

Four Points

Point 1: About the Oil Sands

The oil sands are located in eastern Alberta. There are many machines and factories which dig up the oil sands and extract the bitumen suspended within it. After excavation, the oil sands are mixed with fresh water as well as a chemical mixture to get the oil. These oil sands bring in billions of dollars to Canada and there is no doubt that it is key to maintaining Canada's economy. It is for this reason that the government wishes to expand production from 2 million barrels per day to 4 million per day.
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Point 2: Effect on the Environment

Although the oil sands bring in lots of money for Canada, it comes at a cost. Extracting oil from the oil sands takes massive amounts of energy and resources. The main problem is the amount of fresh water required in the extraction process. In fact, it takes 3 gallons of fresh water for 1 gallon of oil! This has become a huge concern for Aboriginals living nearby in Fort Chipewyan. The rivers and aquifers are drying up and they worry that soon there won't be any left.


Another huge impact of the oil sands is the amount of toxic waste and pollution being created. The Athabasca River, once filled with fresh water, is now a big dump for all the harmful chemicals used in the extraction of oil. This has resulted in the fish developing cancers, tumors, cysts, and more. The fish are practically inedible which means there is one less food source for the local people.

Rethink Alberta - Tar (Oil) Sands Pollute Athabasca River

Point 3: Health Problems

There has been a major concern for the health of those living downstream from the oil sands. Dr. John O'Connor has been actively reporting on the increasing amount of problems in his patients and how pollution from the oil sands are a probable cause of these symptoms. In addition, he stated that there is a rising number of people who were diagnosed with rare forms of cancer in the area. He believes that these cancers come from the extremely high arsenic levels in wild game. For example, the meat of some moose living near the oil sands are recorded as having up to 453 times the acceptable limit of cancer-causing metals and substances such as arsenic! It is no wonder that the people of Fort Chipewyan fear for their safety in the future as this industry continues to grow.

Point 4: Personal Opinion

I believe that it is a great idea to expand the oil sands. This is because of the great economic benefits it will give to Canada. The oil sands are projected to bring in over a trillion dollars over 30 years, and the amount is growing every day. The second reason to expand the oil sands is because as the industry becomes larger, there will be a greater need for workers. The oil sands already employ hundreds of thousands of people, and by expanding it will provide even more people with jobs. To add on to my previous points, the oil sands will keep Canada relevant in the future as many countries will rely on us for oil. Also, the money made and jobs provided will sustain Canada's economy in the years to come. Overall, I feel that the expansion of the oil sands is a great idea due to its contribution to the economy and the people it employs.