There is too much oil in the ground there just to leave it, so what about the carbon dioxide and the natural gas consumption. We will just throw some high tech at it; problem solved.
Use Blimps to Move Stuff to the Tar Sands
First up is the Skyhook JHL-40 Rotorcraft. A cross between a dirigible and a helicopter, Skyhook prez Peter Jess says the patented craft will be capable of hauling 40-tonne loads up to 320 kilometres in areas without basic infrastructure such as roads. Boeing will build them for Skyhook, and says that "the blimp would be environmentally friendly because it would eliminate the need to build roads and rail lines to remote locations, where transportation can be costly, inadequate or unreliable." Right. So how are they going to get the crap out? ::Calgary Herald
Put a Dome over the Tar Sands
Bucky thought he could put one over Manhattan; oil company Petro-Canada wants to put a giant inflatable dome over the tar sands. According to the Globe and Mail,
Measuring 200 metres by 200 metres, and 50 metres high, the proposed "superdome" would allow work to continue even during northern Alberta's punishing winter months, when the cold grinds construction to a standstill.
Petrocan is looking at whether the inflatable structure would cut transportation and construction costs by allowing more key work to be done on site, Neil Camarta, the company's vice-president of oil sands, told investors at an energy conference.
"Working up north can be kind of inhospitable and looking at this kind of technology is something that we're constantly doing," said Petrocan spokesman Peter Symons. ::Globe and Mail
Nuke the Crap out of the Tar Sands
French Nuclear giant Areva is in talks with French Oil Giant Total about the possibility of nuking the oil out of the tar sands in Alberta. Right now the energy and hot water used to separate the gunk comes from burning natural gas, and at some point soon somebody is going to have to decide who gets the gas first, Canadian citizens for their homes or the tar sands for export to American citizens for their gas tanks. As one think-tanker said "Extracting oil from tar scares the pants off me. The whole idea is fundamentally perverse in the context of our present environmental situation. To then power it with nuclear, it seems to be the worst of all worlds." ::The Independent and ::Calgary Herald
But there is a perverse logic to it; the carbon footprint of the tar sands comes from the burning of fuel needed to separate the oil. If you use nukes to make clean hot water and power, stick a giant dome over it to catch the fumes, and carry it out in floating dirigible tankers, it might almost become benign.
More on the Alberta Tar Sands:
Tar Sands: The Most Destructive Project on Earth
Edward Burtynsky on the Alberta Tar SandsEdward Burtynsky on the Alberta Tar Sands
Bad PR Week in Fort McMoneyBad PR Week in Fort McMoney
Oil Companies and Alberta Government Go After Little Old LadyOil Companies and Alberta Government Go After Little Old Lady
The Tar Sands Are Eating Our Dinner
Book Review: Stupid to the Last Drop