Resources and information

Here are some resources for learning more about the various issues related to tar sands and tar shale mining.

Western Resource Advocates site offers this information:


Last Rush for the Wild West: Tar Sands, Oil Shale and the American Frontier, exposes how impending tar sands and oil shale mining would destroy massive, pristine landscapes in Utah and put the already imperiled Colorado River watershed at risk. It would jeopardize drinking water quality and quantity for thirty-six million people downstream. It would increase air pollution in Salt Lake City, where air quality is already the worst in the Nation. It would accelerate climate change. The risks to humanity are staggering.

White Water, Black Gold
This film provides a great overview of the human rights and environmental impacts of Alberta’s tar sands mines.


BLM, Environmental Impact Statement

Canadian Geographic

Oil Shale and Tar Sands Programmatic EIS: Overview of the tar sands extraction process

Emissions and Climate 

Department of Energy, Office of Petroleum Resources

NRDC: Dirty Fuels

Pollution and Health

Alberta Health Services, Cancer Rate in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta

Physicians for a Healthy Environment

Science Daily, “Untold Levels of Oil Sands Pollution On Athabasca River Confirmed.”

Water Consumption

RAND Study

U.S. Government Accountability Office—Water Use Study

University of Utah Institute for Clean and Secure Water

Economy and Jobs

Cornell University, Global Labor Institute

A funny article about the name we choose/use

‘Tar Sands’ vs. ‘Oil Sands’ Political Flap Misguided?

What to call Alberta’s reserves is raising a fuss, but for wrong reason, research indicates.

By Geoff Dembicki 25 Apr 2011
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Tell people this is oil sand and odds are they’ll like it less than tar sand.

The debate over whether to use “oil sands” versus “tar sands” is about way more than terminology. And never has that been more obvious than during the current federal election.

Just last week, the Calgary Herald ran an editorial lambasting NDP leader Jack Layton for the word choice he made in week one of the campaign.

He’d said “tar sands” during a stop in Quebec — a term the Herald claimed has “become part of the rhetoric of extremists who are anti-oil.”

Anyone involved in the battle over Alberta’s unconventional oil industry knows each term represents a distinct political position.

Read more: Energy, Federal Election 2011, Environment


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