The Dirty Dilemma of Canadian Crude

Issue 01-21-08   |   Reviewer:   Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.


High oil prices have spurred increased output from Canada's oil sand fields. Although these deposits are large, extracting the oil is expensive, environmentally destructive, and energy intensive. Environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have taken an interesting approach to try to limit mining of Canadian oil sands. Rather than directly opposing expansion of extraction efforts, they are opposing expansion of refining facilities in the U.S. Midwest. These facilities are necessary to refine the increased output from the Canadian oil sands. While having some success, these efforts may have unintended consequences and may even lead to increased pollution.

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