Published on June 19th, 2013 | by Jeremy Bloom0
EPA – Get real, tar sands oil is DIFFERENT
The EPA is now calling on tar sands pipelines – like the Keystone XL – to be treated differently from regular oil pipelines, according to this NPR report.
That’s just recognizing reality. Tar sands oil – technically diluted bitumen, or dilbit – IS different from regular oil.
- Bitumen is heavy, dense, and sticky.
- In order to push this gunk through a pipeline, it needs to be diluted with chemical solvents.
- It is then pumped through at a high temperature in order to make it flow at all.
What difference does that make?
- Tar sands oil is more corrosive than regular oil. It eats away at the pipeline.
- Tar sands Pipelines break down more often than regular pipelines.
- This gives us devastating SPILLS, like the one this year in Arkansas, or the one three years ago into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.
And when it spills , it’s harder to clean up.
- The Kalamazoo River spill was the biggest in US history, has cost more than $1 billion and still is no closer to be cleaned up.
- Tar sands oil is denser than water. It sinks to the bottom of rivers, ponds and oceans and coats everything in its path.
- Tar sands oil is stickier than crude. “Everything it touches, even rocks, cannot be cleaned and needs to be thrown away,” notes Michigan State University professor Stephen Hamilton.