FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tar Sands to Toledo

“I am extremely pleased with the announcement that BP has given the green light for the Sunrise project in Alberta.”

— Ohio Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

Democratic leaders in Congress are as likely to cavalierly embrace the destruction of the environment, including global warming, as readily as any of the basest congressional members of the other party. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who represents Northern Ohio’s Ninth Congressional District, is celebrating a deal that will allow BP – yes, BP, the epitome of environmental tragedies – to retrofit their Toledo refinery so the 91-year-old facility can process heavy oil extracted from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, never bothering to tell the public of the details of her deal.

In her press release, Kaptur only said she had been in close contact with both the company (BP) and the Canadian government in recent months, as the project had been stalled, but is now “moving ahead full throttle, and that’s good news for us.” Clearly, Ms. Kaptur’s referral to “us” doesn’t include those devastated by BP’s greed-compelled negligence in the deaths of people, wildlife, sea life and gulf coastal regions or the devastating effects that BP’s continued greed will have on the environment and people in Alberta.

Ms. Kaptur is milk-toast and non-controversial to most. Her press releases must be read by only her constituents, if at all. That is the only explanation as to how she can get away with celebrating a pact with the devil, a pact that will bring jobs to recession-torn Toledo, one area in the country that has had no recovery since the recession.

According to a report released by the Brookings Institute, Toledo’s economy “fell off a cliff and never really managed to climb back. This has been by far the worst recession, and 11 quarters from the start, there’s essentially been no recovery. Our basic indicators for Toledo are much, much worse than most other areas.”

Such a cataclysm for the folks of Toledo, a result of Wall Street’s greed, makes Kaptur’s unrealistic public comments lucrative, yet even more destructive. Kaptur told her public, “Continentally, the Alberta sands deposits hold vast potential to yield new reserves as large as two Gulfs of Mexico. This is likely to mean substantial jobs and economic development in our community for many years to come.” But BP has said, “The local project is expected to generate hundreds of construction jobs but not add many jobs at the plant.”

Construction is time-limited, no matter the amount of “oil” in the Alberta sands. Promising jobs while allowing BP to retrofit their refinery is only a stop-gap measure, like the junk-shot BP used to try to stop the oil flowing into the Gulf.

NIMBY

At the time BP’s first attack on our planet, Kaptur was politically-correct in criticizing BP’s oil spill in the Gulf, though she had voted in support of off-shore drilling. Yet she felt compelled to add a spin to highlight her protest of drilling in the Great Lakes: “To prevent a similar ecological disaster in our region, I remain a staunch supporter of the permanent ban on oil and gas exploration on the Great Lakes as crucial for protecting the sensitive environmental nature of our ecosystem.” No explanation as to why “our” ecosystem is more valuable than that of the Gulf of Mexico or the Alberta boreal forests where the tar sands are located.

Would Kaptur be promoting BP’s continued rape of the environment if the tar sands were in Toledo (the project would still bring jobs) and the refinery in Alberta? Naomi Klein best describes some of what is involved in harvesting oil from the tar sands of Alberta in a presentation at the TEDWomen conference:

The tar sands live under one of the last magnificent old-growth boreal forests. But the oil underneath those trees is not liquid, you can’t just drill a hole and pump it out. Tar sands oil is solid, mixed into the soil.

So to get at it, you first have to get rid of the trees. Then you rip off the top soil and dig up the stuff—a process so disruptive it requires enlisting the biggest dump trucks ever built. It also requires a huge amount of water, which is then pumped into massive toxic tailings ponds. That’s very bad news for local indigenous people who are facing unusually high cancer rates.

Tar sands extraction is growing so fast that the project can already be seen from space and could grow to an area roughly the size of England. This is not oil drilling. It is not even mining. It is terrestrial skinning. Vast vivid landscapes are being gutted, left monochromatic grey.

I should confess that as far as I’m concerned, this would be an abomination if it emitted not one particle of carbon. But the truth is that on average, turning that gunk into crude oil produces about 3 times more greenhouse gas pollution per barrel than it does to produce conventional crude oil in Canada.

How else to describe this but as a form of mass insanity?

Mass insanity it is. In the same news article, BP spoke of the tar sands as if they were a wholly-owned sector of BP: “. . . this sanction is a significant step in progressing BP Canada’s upstream oil sands portfolio,” said Stephen Willis, BP’s vice president of oil sands.

From the shock of the recession, my congressional representative cheers on the destruction of the environment by an evil corporate entity, disaster capitalism at its most destructive. Mass insanity it is, even for the congresswoman.

Ms. Kaptur’s office was contacted repeatedly for a comment on her position on environmental issues, and refused to respond.

Dr. TRUDY BOND is a constituent in Kaptur’s district, and can be reached at drtrudybond@gmail.com.

More articles by:
August 16, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare
W. T. Whitney
New Facebook Alliance Endangers Access to News about Latin America
Sam Husseini
The Trump-Media Logrolling
Ramzy Baroud
Mission Accomplished: Why Solidarity Boats to Gaza Succeed Despite Failing to Break the Siege
Larry Atkins
Why Parkland Students, Not Trump, Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize
William Hartung
Donald Trump, Gunrunner for Hire
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Morality Tales in US Public Life?
Yves Engler
Will Trudeau Stand Up to Mohammad bin Salman?
Vijay Prashad
Samir Amin: Death of a Marxist
Binoy Kampmark
Boris Johnson and the Exploding Burka
Eric Toussaint
Nicaragua: The Evolution of the Government of President Daniel Ortega Since 2007 
Adolf Alzuphar
Days of Sagebrush, Nights of Jasmine in LA
Robert J. Burrowes
A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival
August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail