What are the Oil Sands?

The oil sands provide us with a source of unconventional oil. This means that the oil is still usable however; it is a naturally occurring mixture of sand, clay or other minerals. The other materials must be separated and removed from the mixture before it can be used to produce usable fuels. It is also more difficult to get out of the ground than regular, conventional oil. Unconventional oil is now known as “Canada’s greatest buried energy treasure”, especially now that the source of conventional oil is said to have peaked. The oil sands are also referred to as "tar sands".

Alternate Sources of Energy:
Electric Energy Source
Construction / Operation Costs
Cost to Consumers
Environmental Concerns
Social Costs & Benefits
short term:
very expensive long term: low
It disrupts fish, floods nearby shores, current of river, affects terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems
Renewable resource, environmentally friendly, provides jobs 20% - 25% o four energy needs are met by hydro
medium - low
short term:
low long term:
Produces pollution (ash, smoke, sulfur dioxide, greenhouse gasses) - results in acid rain
Non-renewable, pollution results in breathing problems (health issues), creates job opportunities
short term: low long term: low
Doesn’t harm the environment because it isn’t releasing any harmful substances
Some people find them visually appealing, environmentally friendly, could harm birds and take up a lot of space and make a lot of noise

short term: medium long term: low
Renewable resource
Job opportunities, reduces amount of land to grow crops – increased price in food
Oil / Natural Gas
short term:
medium long term: high
Burning the oil produces pollutants This contributes to acid precipitation, smog, and climate change
Ships may crash causing oil spills Natural gas reserves are declining Non-renewable Burns cleaner then coal
short term: high long term: low
Creates some pollution Doesn’t produce a lot of energy (lots of sunlight is required)
Good for the environment, maintenance free, works independently, lasts for 40 years
short term: high long term: low
Contributes to global warming The making of the plant creates lots of pollution
Reduces heating bill by large amounts Creates jobs
short term: high long term: medium
Creates pollution, aquatic ecosystems are negatively affected
high (temperature of water that return to their sources negatively affect these bodies of water)
Produces very large amounts of energy (especially compared to that of coal) Non-renewable about 50% of our energy comes from nuclear