5 Ways Tar Sands Threatens Utah’s Air Quality

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1.)  Refining tar sands emits more deadly pollution than regular crude oil refining.

2.)  Trucking the tar sands to Salt Lake will worsen air pollution especially the PM 2.5s and other toxic diesel exhaust.

3.)  Significant amounts of radio-active Uranium are present in Utah tar sands would be released to the environment when processed in the Salt Lake refineries.

4.)  Tar Sand strip mining and refining will require extensive publicly financed road building and electrical and airport infrastructure expansions all impacting our air quality and without sufficient tax or fees thus reducing our ability to invest in clean air solutions.

5.)  Tar Sands would require vast amounts of water increasing the aridity and related air pollution in our State.  Tar sands could leech waste and hazardous minerals into the White, Green and Colorado Rivers. We have other sources of energy but the 30 million consumers of Colorado River water do not have another source of water.

Read our sources after the jump.

SOURCES:

#1.)      Refining tar sands emits more deadly pollution than regular crude oil refining.

“Natural bitumen (often called tar sands or oil sands) and heavy oil differ from light oils by their … significant … heavy-metal contaminants. They resemble the residuum from the refining of light oil.”

SOURCE: U.S. Geological Survey
Fact Sheet 70-03
August 2003 – Online Version 1.0

http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs070-03/fs070-03.html

 

Significant levels of radio-active Uranium is in all the tar sands in Utah, especially well documented at PR Springs, site of the tar sands proposed to be refined in the Salt Lake refineries.

SOURCE: U.S. Geological Survey
Fact Sheet 1946-E
Electronic  Version

http://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/1046e/report.pdf

 

Significant levels of Vanadium a rare toxic metal is also documented in the tar sands in Utah, especially at PR Spring.

“The presence of certain metals in oil extracted from tar sands can have undesirable catalytic effects on refining and combustion. The cumulative effect of some of these metals on refining makes even trace amounts a serious problem.

SOURCE:  Characterization and Chemistry of Oil Shales; (@ p.135)

http://web.anl.gov/PCS/acsfuel/preprint%20archive/Files/Volumes/Vol29-3.pdf

 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that vanadium is possibly carcinogenic to humans.   Studies in animals exposed during pregnancy have shown that vanadium can cause decreases in growth and increases in the occurrence of birth defects.

Releases of vanadium to the environment are mainly associated with industrial sources, especially oil refineries and power plants using vanadium rich fuel oil and coal.

Vanadium cannot be destroyed in the environment. It can only change its form or become attached or separated from airborne particulate, soil, particulate in water, and sediment.

SOURCE: TOXICOLOGICAL PROFILE FOR VANADIUM

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp58.pdf

 

 

#2.)      Trucking the tar sands to Salt Lake will worsen air pollution especially the PM 2.5s and other toxic diesel exhaust.

The first tar sand mine in Utah is proposed to produce 50,000 BPD which would require nearly two hundred trucks traveling about  from the Salt Lake refineries each day.

SOURCE: http://www.eenews.net/public/energywire/2012/05/22/1

& http://www.parkrecord.com/ci_21445623/officials-hope-keep-oil-and-traffic-flowing-through

 

A large number of human epidemiology studies show increased lung cancer associated with diesel exhaust.

SOURCE http://www.epa.gov/ttnatw01/nata/perspect.html

 

“Diesel particulate emissions are composed of a variety of liquid phase hydrocarbons and solid phase soot (carbon). The literature suggests that the majority of particulate emissions from diesel combustion are in the PM2.5 size or smaller range.”

SOURCE: Holly’s NOI Refinery Expansion – “5.7.3 BACT for PM10/PM2.5”

 

#3.)      Significant amounts of radio-active Uranium are present in Utah tar sands would be released to the environment when processed in the Salt Lake refineries.

SOURCE: U.S. Geological Survey
Fact Sheet 1946-E
Online Version

http://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/1046e/report.pdf

 

#4.)      Tar Sand strip mining and refining will require extensive publicly financed road building and electrical and airport infrastructure expansions all impacting our air quality and without sufficient tax or fees thus reducing our ability to invest in clean air solutions.

Tar Sands refining in Salt Lake would impose huge new infrastructure costs on local communities and the State.  Heavy Oil developers are already looking for new highway access from Eastern Utah.

*In 2009 when the nation faced economic collapse and hard times Exxon Mobile made 46billion in profits and paid zero in taxes.  Yet they benefit and lobby tremendously for government funded services like better roads to take their product to market (ie refineries 5 blocks from my house and walking distance from several title 1 elementary schools – increased truck traffic means no recess outside and they are all low income schools) – http://www.oil-price.net/en/articles/How-Exxon-paid-zero-tazes-in-2009.php

With increased Tar Sand mining now in Canada, and despite increases in royalty revenues, the province of Alberta has been hard pressed to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for all forms of public infrastructure, including hospitals/clinics, schools, recreation facilities and municipal services. Canadian government funding for existing airport expansion and new regional airports has been insufficient to meet demand, and has forced the major tar sands companies to construct their own airstrips.

*Another subsidy to tar sands in Utah is that SITLA charges only 3-5%royalties for tar sands compared to 12-15% for conventional coal oil and gas. “With respect to government incentives for first-generation oil shale/tar sands operations, the State of Utah has implemented a permanent sales tax exemption on capital costs related to mining equipment; as well as a severance tax holiday until 2016.”; “Equally important would be state and/or federal incentive programs to attract and support necessary industrial infrastructure, such as additional electricity availability, transmission pipelines, upgraders and/or refineries

http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/UMA-White-Paper-on-Development-of-Utah-OS-TS.pdf

 

#5.)      Tar Sands would require vast amounts of water increasing the aridity and related air pollution in our State.  Tar sands could leech waste and hazardous minerals into the White, Green and Colorado Rivers. We have other sources of energy but the 30 million consumers of Colorado River water do not have another source of water.

SOURCE: http://www.westernresourceadvocates.org/land/utosts/tarsands.php

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