Acclaimed Canadian author and Tyee contributing editor Andrew Nikiforuk writes in the New York Times today with an angle on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline most Americans likely don't dwell upon. In an opinion piece, Nikiforuk notes:
"Environmentalists typically fret about the prospect of adding monstrous new amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere if the Keystone XL pipeline is approved, and for good reason… But for a vast stretch of western Canada's boreal forest, the fight over extracting bitumen has already been lost. The question is, how much more will we lose?"
Nikiforuk goes on to offer a crash course in the two methods of mining bitumen -- scraping the earth bare and injecting steam underground to melt and suck up the tarry substance -- and tallies the damage to nature done.
"Since the mining frenzy for this garbage crude took off in 2000, nearly two million acres of this ancient forest have been cleared or degraded, according to Global Forest Watch -- a swath more than six times the size of New York City. If Keystone XL and other proposed pipelines are approved and bitumen production grows, much more forest will be lost."
Read the entire article here.
David Beers is executive editor of The Tyee.