Delaware City Refinery's hopes for tar sands
The Delaware City Refinery has announced that it is postponing its proposed $1 billion expansion in favor of the dirtiest oil on earth, the Canadian tar sands.
In an article published in The News Journal on July 21, 2012, journalist Jeff Montgomery reported that the refinery announced plans to expand its rail unloading complex so that it could accept 100,000 barrels per day of tar sands crude by train. This is more than half of the refinery's current capacity of 191,000 barrels per day.
The tar sands are an environmental and social catastrophe through the entire life-cycle.
- Strip-mining destroys large expanses of the boreal forest (the largest intact ecosystem on earth).
- Two tons of tar sands are required to produce a single barrel of bitumen. Large lakes of toxic waste.
- Hazardous air emissions sicken communities, in areas where tar sands are extracted through to refining.
- Tar sands extraction and refining are extremely water intensive processes that produce highly toxic wastewater.
- Tar sands bitumen is highly corrosive and abrasive.
- Toxic chemicals are added to dilute the bitumen, which increases the chance of explosions if it comes in contact with heat, sparks, static electricity or lightning.
- In an oil spill, oil normally floats to the surface, but tar sands sink, making it very difficult to clean up after a spill.
- Tar sands takes a tremendous amount of energy to extract and refine. The Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROI) is extremely low (3:1 to 1:1).