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Published on June 19th, 2013 | by Jeremy Bloom

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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.

 

 




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About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue.



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