Target: David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries
Goal: Halt plans to increase oil extraction in the Canadian oil tar sands
A proposal made by Koch Industries to the Alberta Energy Regulator to begin an oil extraction project in the Canadian oil tar sands was filed in February of 2013 as part of a project to produce up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). The project also has the potential to increase global carbon dioxide emissions, contaminate aquifers and streams, and cause countless devastating oil spills. With leases on 1.1 million acres in the oil tar sands, this company stands to make a huge and negative environmental impact.
Bitumen is a semi-solid form of oil, considered too expensive and troublesome to process until the world’s demand for oil exceeded its foreseeable supply. To extract bitumen, companies either strip mine or boil it out of the ground, injecting hot water and chemicals to release it. The effects of these chemicals on the environment are not well known, though the risk runs high that this chemically saturated water will contaminate aquifers and streams in the Peace River area of Alberta, where most of the company’s leases are held. Worse still, the greenhouse gas emissions are 12 percent higher than other forms of extraction. According to a figure released in 2011 by the Environmental Protection Agency, Koch Industries emitted over 24 million tons of carbon dioxide among its companies, which is comparable to that of 5 million cars.
Among the oil-related charges leveled against Koch Industries since 1995 are a 97-count indictment for failing to report a 91 ton discharge of the carcinogen benzene, and a federal lawsuit holding the company responsible for more than 300 reported oil spills. The company was also found guilty of negligence and malice following the death of two teens in an explosion caused by a leaky underground butane pipeline.
If approved,the application to the AER would allow Koch Industries to extract bitumen crude oil through the process of “in situ” or steaming in those areas the company leases. Across the tar sands this process is already widespread, producing about 2 million bpd, but with the inclusion of the Koch Industries project and others like it, that figure is projected to reach 3.8 million bpd as of 2022. Tell Koch Industries that its flagrant disregard for the environment in the name of profit must be stopped.
Dear David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries,
Your company’s plans to extract crude oil in the Canadian tar sands through the process of “in situ” extraction stands not only to produce 60,000 barrels per day, but also to increase emissions, poison the soil and potentially contaminate aquifers and streams. The process through which bitumen is extracted is environmentally dangerous and the transportation has proven unsafe, causing oil spills which can take years to clean up, if they can be cleaned at all.
The massive increase in production proposed by your company has the potential to exact damaging changes to the immediate landscape, the areas surrounding the pipelines that will carry the oil, the water sources around the extraction points and the air quality. These steep environmental costs are the consequences of this project and more than outweigh the ever-rising price of oil.
I implore you to immediately halt your company’s plans to extract ever more bitumen from the oil tar sands of Canada.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: TastyCakes via Wikimedia Commons