CO2 releases increase when vehicles burn gasoline or diesel fuel that originated as tar sands as compared to fuels that originated as petroleum crude. These increases are of such great magnitude that they significantly offset any reductions accomplished by use of better fuel efficiency engines. The better engines would have to achieve three times better fuel efficiency to accomplish reductions that equal the CO2 emission increases of tar sands fuel use.
Production of one barrel of synthetic crude (SCO) from tar sands releases approximately 180 lbs of CO2 to the environment.
Production of one barrel of petroleum crude releases approximately 62 lbs of CO2.
Further information on tar sands CO2 emissions can be found at:
Pollutant Carcinogen Emissions Associated with Tar Sands Utilization
Everyone who uses gasoline, diesel fuel or plastics bears a certain amount of responsibility for the environmental damages that result from the utilization of tar sands. The gas, diesel and plastics produced via refining of feed stocks that originated as tar sands are intermingled with these products that have a petroleum crude source. Gas, diesel and plastics are global products the purchase and use of which support any activity that contributes to their production regardless of the source.
Tar sands use as an energy and plastics feedstock source, including: strip mining, steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), upgrading, transportation, and refining, which dates from the 1960s, is now a well established industrial sector in Canada. In the province of Alberta, new tar sands mining operations continue to be developed. Pipelines are being built that will deliver synthetic crude (upgraded tar sand, referred to as bitumen, mixed with light oil) to US and Canadian refineries in the Great Lakes Region. The tar sands sector plans to reach an output of 3 million barrels per day by 2015. Currently, 1 million barrels per day are exported to the United States. Air pollution permits are being issued for refinery expansions that will make it possible for the refineries to utilize synthetic crude as a gasoline, diesel fuel and plastics feedstock. Permitted refinery expansions are being constructed. This massive, rapid and extremely expensive development of tar sands as an energy/plastics source is all taking place despite the fact that US EPA admittedly has no emissions data for tar sand upgrading and refining. Lacking synthetic crude refining emissions data, it is not possible for State regulatory agencies or EPA to adequately assess the air permit applications for refinery expansions. All air permits issued by State regulatory agencies for refinery expansions driven by future use of synthetic crude are an abuse of the principles of air pollution control that serve as a foundation for the Clean Air Act. It is not satisfactorily protective of air quality for regulators to allow expansions of this magnitude without emissions data. The claim that stack testing and control after the expansions have been completed will protect against declines in air quality is false. Refineries will simply buy pollution offset credits, a practice which does not protect against regional air quality degradation.
Considering the Great Lakes Commission's most recent emissions inventory, "Great Lakes Toxic Air Emissions Inventory, 2005", (see news release below) the Great Lakes region currently experiences significant air and water pollution problems. Petroleum refining is listed as the third largest source of Benzo(a)pyrene (B(a) P) emissions in another recently published report, "Assessment of Benzo(a)pyrene Air Emissions in the Great Lakes Region, March 2007". B(a)P is a human carcinogen and the most potent of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a group of compounds containing numerous human carcinogens.
Oil refining, whether the feedstock is synthetic or petroleum crude, is a major source of pollutant carcinogens, including: carcinogenic metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene and formaldehyde. The emissions of these carcinogens will be greater on a per barrel basis for the refining of tar sands/synthetic crude.
Oil refinery expansions and the refining of synthetic crude in the Great Lakes states and provinces of the US and Canada will result in the release of large quantities of pollutant carcinogens in the region. It is unwise and lacking in any meaningful concern for the protection of public health to allow for increased emissions of pollutant carcinogens in a region such as the Great Lakes where high cancer rates are found.
Cancer Action NY and the Cancer Action Network call for an end to tar sands development and an end to the importation of synthetic crude or any other carbon based product that originates in tar sands extraction. Considering the global effects of tar sands use, we call upon the Canadian government to bring an end to all tar sands use by closing all of the tar sands extraction activities within Canada and prohibiting any further extraction of tar sands.
For further information: Donald L. Hassig, Director, Cancer Action NY and the Cancer Action Network; P O Box 340, Colton, New York, 13625; firstname.lastname@example.org; 315 262 2456; www.canceractionny.org
Regional emissions inventory documents releases of toxic substances in the Great Lakes region
Ann Arbor, Mich.-- The Great Lakes Commission has announced the release of the newest edition of the Great Lakes Regional Toxic Air Emissions Inventory. Based on estimates of 2005 air emissions provided by the eight Great Lakes states and the province of Ontario, the inventory covers emissions from more than 2,500 categories of air pollution sources, including industrial facilities, automobiles, residential energy use and many others.
This is the seventh year of data that has been compiled for the regional inventory and the first in three years. Its completion marks continued progress toward obtaining comprehensive and current information on toxic emission sources in the Great Lakes region and achieving data reporting consistency among the eight states and Ontario.
The inventory includes releases of nearly 200 chemicals, intended to represent all those identified as Hazardous Air Pollutants in the Clean Air Act and those compounds significantly contributing to the contamination of the Great Lakes Emissions estimates were from nearly 12,000 industrial facilities across the region. In all, it estimates approximately 2.3 billion pounds of toxic air emissions for the entire region, which covers a total population of more than 90 million people.
A regional inventory of this type is particularly valuable for the Great Lakes region due to health concerns from pollutants, such as mercury, which enter the Great Lakes from the air. Their large surface areas, long water retention times and other factors make the Great Lakes particularly susceptible to such problems. Many toxic pollutants that are originally released to the air will deposit to land and waterways in large quantities, either in precipitation, attached to particles, or as gasses.
Total estimated emissions in this latest inventory are lower than in previous years, but do not necessarily indicate a decline in overall emissions. Changes in methodology, including the addition of more types of sources and improvements in estimation techniques and measurements, can lead to changes in emission estimates even if actual emissions have not changed.
The Great Lakes regional inventory is a longstanding and unique partnership among the eight Great Lakes states and the province of Ontario, coordinated by the Great Lakes Commission. The nine participants not only share emissions estimates as part of the regional project, but also work together to improve estimation methods and to share and compare their procedures and information. This partnership has led to significant improvements in the toxic air emissions inventories on both sides of the border and has provided the participating states and province a unique opportunity to work collaboratively in addressing the potential threat these chemicals pose. Beyond just sharing of information, this project leads to information that is more consistent in terms of how it is produced and reported.
The inventory data have been used for a variety of purposes by the participating states and province, as well as by other agencies and organizations. For example, the data have been used to assess health risks, prioritize state and federal pollution prevention activities, support permit review and tracking, assist community groups and researchers, and much more.
The report of the 2005 Great Lakes Regional Toxic Air Emissions Inventory is available online through the Great Lakes Information Network at http://wiki.glin.net/display/RAPIDS/Home. In addition, the emissions estimates will be available in the coming months for viewing through the Centralized Air emissions Repository On-Line (CAROL), an interactive website capable of producing maps, charts and tables of the toxic air emissions information. The project has received support from the U.S. EPA's Office of Air and Radiation.
The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Gov. Patrick Quinn (Ill.), is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S.. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors' appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Quebec was established through the signing of a "Declaration of Partnership." The Commission maintains a formal Observer program. involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.