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Alberta Tar Sands


Dust storm over tar sands upgrader

Canada's tar sands deposits represent the largest stash of hydrocarbons outside of Saudi Arabia. Often called the "dirtiest" of all fossil fuels, tar sands bitumin is a thick, noxious mess of oil, clay, sand and water. Its extraction involves razing virgin Athabasca boreal forest and wetlands. In June 2010, NRDC members and staff traveled to northern Alberta, ground zero of tar sands mining operations, to witness the realities of Canada's massive and burgeoning fossil fuel rush. Reports from the field are collected below.

For some more background on tar sands mining and its impacts on the local ecosystem and economy, check out Canada's Highway to Hell, award-winning journalist Andrew Nikiforuk's Fall 2007 feature for OnEarth.

The Ugliness of Extraction, from Appalachia to Alberta
Tar Sand Dreams