An article on CTV News yesterday, along with one of the accompanying comments, exemplify the very thing that annoys a lot of folks when it comes to environmentalists.
This article is about a new report from Environmental Defence slamming the state of the environment around Alberta’s tar sands. Within the report are the nasty photos that every one pretty much expects to see. There’s the toxic looking clouds and deformed animals and the scarred landscape. All undoubtedly horrible. At the bottom of the report they outline what they think should be done, including advocating the use of ‘dry tailings’.
An anonymous commenter then posted this:
Under the conclusions part of this report, the authors recommend that producers switch to “Dry Tailings” instead of wet tailings.
As someone who works in the oil sands industry and occasionally on projects related to tailings, I would love for the authors to inform me of how we can magically make “Dry Tailings”. Through chemicals? That’s already been tried. Through massive driers? Well, you’ll end up burning more gas that way. Filters likely won’t work either due to the extreme solids loading of the system.
Everybody in the industry would love to hear how to make these “Dry Tailings”. Would the authors’ care to enlighten us?
It reminds me of the old Greenpeace protesters complaining about clear-cutting. As the daughter of a forester I learned that a lot of their claims were pretty nonsensical. To the point where one of their founders up and quit the movement altogether. What are loggers supposed to do, pick the trees here and there out one by one? You can’t. Other trees are in the way.
I’ve always thought that if people really care about the environment, that rather than produce flashy brochures and documentaries and court celebrities, they’d go to University, get a BS or Masters in materials engineering or organic chemistry or any related discipline and figure out workable solutions to these problems themselves.
But that would take a lot more hard work and would be less glam than getting to lecture people at every opportunity.