Monday, September 24, 2007

Canadians Examine Oil And Water Policies, Don't Like What They See

There are analysts in Canada, according to this website posting from north of the border, that have looked at their nation's natural resource use for various exports to the US - - with implications for Wisconsin - - and don't like what they see.

Note the linkage to the production and export of Canadian tar sand crude oil - - a process that uses substantial amounts of water, which like oil is also a finite resource.

And the tar sands provide the crude oil that will supply the expanded refining capacity on the US Great Lakes at Whiting, Indiana (British Petroleum) and Superior, Wisconsin (Murphy Oil).

It takes three gallons of water to produce a barrel of crude oil for export, with polluted wastewater to deal with in Canada, experts say.

Then it takes more water to refine that crude oil, and produces more waste that has to be dealt with by the refinery - - on the Great Lakes.

BP got permission from the State of Indiana to increase to three tons daily the amount of ammonia and solid pollutants it was permitted to introduce into Lake Michigan as a result of the tar sand refining increase, but bent to public pressure and announced it could treat the waste in ways other than putting into the lake.

Murphy Oil is still searching for an investment partner to finance the expansion at Superior, but will be confronted with similar waste-stream issues and public relations issues as was British Petroleum, especially if the State of Wisconsin approves a pollution permit that increase dumping into Lake Superior.

Some Canadians are making the linkages between their export and energy policies, climate change, water availability. and environmental protections.

And other Canadians want more action on their side of the border to preserve the Great Lakes, too.

Note this new poll data from Alberta.

We'll see if Wisconsin policy-makers and residents, when Lake Superior is at the heart of the question, are willing to demand the highest standards to protect the Great Lakes.

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