Finance ministers can also lie.

Canada’s provincial finance ministers met last weekend for a play date with their federal counterpart. This was a follow-up to the first ministers meeting on the Friday. When Alberta finance minister Joe Ceci found that Quebec premier François Legault had left him a lump of coal, he got a bit huffy. It seems the new Quebec premier had made the point that Alberta pushing for an Energy East pipeline had no ‘socially acceptability’ in Quebec.

Mr. Ceci brushed it off as he said that the Quebec premier did not know much abut the energy industry in his province. He claimed (as do the Alberta commercials on television) that the companies have reduced the carbon in bitumen. That is easy enough to do if you have the refinery processes available. The only problem is that nobody has yet to know how to handle the problem of all the bitumen slag (carbon) that is left behind.

Frankly, Mr. Ceci has not got a leg to stand on. Until somebody at one of the universities finds a way to transmogrify carbon into something such as H²O, bitumen remains a very serious pollution problem. It is the polluter that just keeps on polluting.

It starts with the hot water that is pumped down to layers of bitumen to liquify it and bring it to the surface. The greasy water from this process is pumped into settling ponds that can attract and kill wildlife.

Then bitumen needs to be diluted to enable it to be shipped by truck, rail or pipeline. Whichever way it is shipped, it constitutes a hazard as it is flammable and can be extremely difficult to keep from doing long-term damage to the environment and wildlife.

No matter where it is refined, it presents a bitumen slag that just continues to pollute.

And it is only after the refining processes are complete that the synthetic oil products can be used and continue their cycle of pollution. We ignore all this pollution at our peril.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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