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Oil in the Sand

Two interesting things happened today. First, an AP article that was published in various papers noted that as the tide comes in and out, oil that is on the beaches in the gulf can get covered by sand, thus burying it. So while a beach might look clean, one only has to bury his or her feet a few inches to discover these newly formed “oil sands.”

To solve this problem, as the article states, there are a few options: incinerate the sand, to burn the oil, use chemicals to clean it, or use similar methods to those in Alberta’s oil sands operation and “scrub” it.

This leads me to the second event. Today Friends of the Earth and several other environmental non- profits staged a protest at the Canadian Embassy and a march to the White House. The subject of the event was the Keystone XL pipeline that, if built, will span the entire width of the United States, from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico. This pipeline will carry oil generated from tar sands projects in northeastern Alberta, Canada, to locations in Texas and Louisiana. To learn more about this project, view the Friends of the Earth fact page.

Gloria Reuben came to show her support

Some background on oil sands: Oil sands are deposits of bitumen, an extremely dense form of petroleum. They are extremely dirty form of energy, requiring several barrels of fresh water for every one barrel of oil produced (FOE). Needless to say, they are not a step in the right direction.

As we continue to pressure President Obama and congress to move forward with effective legislation, it is important to examine and uncover issues like these. For this pipeline to be built, the State Department and President must both sign off on the issue.

Let’s tell them we don’t want to see any more oil on our beaches and land than already exists. Sign the Friends of the Earth Petition here

Austin is an intern in the Energy Program