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Monday, October 07, 2013

Neil Young To Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada: "[Your] Head is Stuck in the Tar Sands"

Official Neil Young website

Last week, Neil Young posted a message on his official website Shakey's Garage asking the question "How hard should I try?"

Now -- it would seem - that Neil has his answer... very hard.

Neil Young has posted another message this weekend and this one is addressed towards the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper:
Harper's Head Stuck in the Tar Sands

I was amazed to find that Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, my home country, has his head stuck in the tar sands of Alberta and has forgotten about his responsibilities to Canadians. Trans Canada, a company he backs, is actively pursuing the goal of crossing the United States with the Keystone Pipeline, a money maker for a chosen few that will cause incredible environmental damage. If it goes through it will be the shame of Canada, an environmental disaster that could have been stopped by responsibility and wisdom. It will not benefit America with energy or new jobs. The oil is for China and the world market, not the USA. With only 35 permanent jobs the added US employment is so small as to not even count.

In light of the United Nations concluding that Climate Change is definitely a result of man's activities, I think it's a good idea to learn as much as I can about it.

One thing I did was visit to learn about the Keystone Pipeline and its direct relationship to Climate change. It's very informative. If you are on the edge and might want to know more, then it's a great place to go.

Neil Young
So. If one visits, one will find "The Truth" -- something it seems often in short supply these days. But you decide for yourself what is "The Truth".

If we had to guess, this may go down easier than Neil Young's last trip into the Tar Sands, which wasn't too pretty.

But that's what happen when Truth gets spoken to Power. Strange things happen when worlds collide.

Neil Young
Press Conference for National Farmers Union
Washington, DC, September 10, 2013



At 10/07/2013 10:03:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

fuck the doubters

At 10/08/2013 09:39:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Yaaaayyy, I love Neil Young. He's got cajones.

At 10/09/2013 01:05:00 AM, Anonymous Mike said...

you can visualize Neil's Fort McMurray comments by dropping a virtual bomb on the tar sands using Nuke Map ( ). Go to “57.02°N 111.65°W”, switch to Satellite view, select “Little Boy” and hit the Detonate button.

Looks like Neil was actually being quite conservative.. seems like it takes about 15 nukes to match the scale of the tar sands..

At 10/09/2013 10:11:00 AM, Blogger Old Black said...

Once again, I am very disappointed in Neil and his lack of knowledge on the subject. In general, I would agree that a lot of the oil product from northern Alberta will be going to the China. But the Keystone pipeline (pros and cons not withstanding) is designed to send syncrude to refineries in the the southern US, which "adds value" and export finished product (i.e. petroleum distillates). Oil is a commodity - it doesn't understand geography except in terms of transportation cost.

There are MANY great arguments (mostly environmental) to ceasing tar sand mining and production. Neil has hit on none of them and as a result, he sounds shrill and loses credibility. I would like to take him on a tour of the tar sands and really show him the big problems that he is overlooking. Armed with that knowledge, he would be much more credible.

At 10/09/2013 10:45:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks for the offer Old Black.

Since we have the space, why not try and lay it out for Neil and others what we might be missing here?

We say this sincerely because it's important.

At 10/09/2013 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Old Black said...

Okay, I'll give it a try:

1. The tailing basins are the largest emitters of GHG in North America. Period. There is lots of trapped bitumen in the tailing material and the tailings "fart" because of built up hydrogen sulfide gas (the result of misguided addition of gypsum to the tailing in an attempt to get them to set up with strength). These biogenic farts also release lots of methane into the atmosphere - this will go on for decades.

2. Suncore is proposing to mine into a protected fen as part of their Fort Hills mine. They have no clue how to protect the lower part of this important wetland - just a lot of arm waving. The province is going to let them do it.

3. CNRL is trying to inject brine materials into a dolomite aquifer at depth but the fluids are causing small earth quakes and flowing miles through fractures that no one suspected.

4. There have been almost no attempts at trying to reclaim the vast tailing basins. They don't know how to get them to 'set up' with enough strength to reclaim the topography. No one is putting pressure on them to do so. The technical challenges are immense due to the segragated nature of the tailings.

5. The province's concepts for protecting the Athabasca River from contaminated groundwater inflows and surface water runoff are absolutely primative compared to the US. There are no regulatory mechanisms for setting standards. Therefore, they are letting the oil sand companies make it up as they go along.

6. The province owns the royalties for the bitumen and the coke byproducts. They have an inherent incentive to push production and to minimize reclamation costs for the companies. It's a nasty little relationship. I've never seen anything like that in the States. There is virtually no regulatory oversite. Alberta Environment can't keep very many good people because the oil sand companies and consultants hire them away.

At 10/09/2013 01:40:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Old Black for coming back with this.

Yes, we've been hearing and seeing similar info for sometime about the folly of remediation.

Someone posted awhile back how the standard for remediation of the land was that it would support the weight of a caribou. Seems like a pretty objective goal yet no caribou have ever been seen since in areas where tar dredging occurs.

Once you're gone, you can't come back...

At 10/10/2013 04:16:00 PM, Blogger Celtglass said...

Intersting discussion regarding this issue on NPR 10/9/2013:

At 10/10/2013 04:21:00 PM, Blogger Celtglass said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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