US tar sands consumption is driving the environmental disaster
- US consumes more oil than any other country in the world
- Tar sands destruction is fueled by America's addiction to oil: 99% of Canadian tar sands exports go to the US
- Canada is the largest foreign supplier of petroleum products to the US; about half of those products are derived from tar sands
- Canada supplies nearly 2,000 barrels of petroleum products per day to the US
US tar sands refineries put community health at risk
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- US refineries are using an extremely toxic and corrosive mixture of chemicals—called a ‘bitumen blend’—that comes from Canada’s tar sands
- Communities downwind and downstream from tar sands refineries have elevated levels of cancer (1)
- US refineries using tar sands often produce more intense sulfur dioxide air pollution—today, that pollution isn’t adequately regulated
- Short-term exposure to elevated sulfur dioxide levels is associated with reduced lung function, chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, respiratory illness, deterioration of the lung’s defense systems, and the aggravation of cardiovascular systems (2)
- Disadvantaged groups are more affected by refinery pollution—the average risk from exposure was 35% higher for people living below the poverty line in refinery communities (3)
Risky tar sands pipelines and tankers threaten US communities
- Tar sands are already transported to refineries across the United States by pipeline, tanker and train
- Tar sands pipelines across the country have seen significant spills in recent years including TransCanada’s Keystone I in North Dakota, Enbridge’s Lakehead System in Michigan and Exxon-Mobile’s Silvertip Pipeline in Montana.
- Because of the unique nature of bitumen tar sands spills are more difficult and costly to clean up than conventional oil spills. A 2010 tar sands spill into the Kalamazoo River has become the most costly onshore pipeline disaster in U.S. history.
1. Chen, “Cancer Incidence in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta 1995-2006.” February 2009.
2. EPA Enforcement Alert, Volume 3 Number 9. October 2000.
3. Palma, Analysis of Socio-Economic Factors for Populations Living Near Petroleum Refineries. January 15, 2009.