Wednesday, 22 January 2014 14:13

Neil Young should be commended

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We should all thank Neil Young for using his star power to ramp up the debate over the Alberta tar sands development.  It is clearly a national debate that we need to have before it is too late.

Over the next 20 years, $400 billion is going to be spent to ramp up production from the tar sands by a six-fold amount. 
We, as a society, have not yet had the debate as to what alternative energy sources $400 billion could buy for us. For example, that would buy enough wind turbines to provide all of Canada’s electrical needs. We could shut down all the coal-fired power plants and all the white elephant nuclear plants too.
We have not had the debate over the natural gas used by the tar sands. With a six-fold expansion, the tar sands will be using enough natural gas each year that could have provided all the electrical needs of Alberta and Saskatchewan combined.
And does using one of the cleanest of hydrocarbon fuels to produce tar sands oil, one of the dirtiest of fuels, make sense to you?
Do you lament Amazon rain forest deforestation? Right here in Canada over the next 40 years, the tar sands development will bulldoze into oblivion 100,000 square kilometres of Alberta’s boreal forest, along with its fish, wildlife and the way of life of most of the Treaty 8 First Nations people.
And in 2054, if you were to fly over this devastated region, you would find its wetlands replaced by tailings ponds whose total surface area will exceed that of Lake Athabasca. Imagine all the environmental consequences that implies.
Neil Young’s critics also tell us that without the tar sands we will have no gas at the pumps for our SUVs. Well, sorry, but we have an abundance of other energy sources.
At the end of the day is the tar sands development a national debatable issue? You bet.
Tom Shelstad, Swift Current

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