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And we thought you were so Green… apparently, not so much. The Alberta Oil Sands or “Tar Sands” are the world’s largest deposits of bitumen, a heavy, black form of crude oil, which can be extracted via surface mining. Thanks to 2003-2007’s record high oil prices, the sands became more commercially viable than ever. Northeastern Alberta is home to 140,000 square kilometers of oil sands, an area larger than England.

Oil sand extraction is widely considered to be of more harm to the environment than that of conventional crude oil. Despite huge profits and job creation, the cost to Alberta’s air, land, water, wildlife and human population has caused many to question whether the industry is worth it and just whom, exactly, it is benefiting. VBS.tv’s TOXIC takes an unconventional, yet informative look at Alberta’s very dirty oil sands industry.

TOXIC: Alberta

- Once pristine wilderness, Alberta is now a world of poisoned water, polluted air, and rare cancer. VBS travels to the oil sands of Canada to investigate the impact of digging for this previously unobtainable oil. -vbs.tv

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Additional resources:
Canada’s Green Party
Environment Canada
Oil sands’ producer’s website including a debate forum
Criticisms of the Alberta Tar Sands from website climateandcapitalism.com
The Canadian Oil Boom National Geographic article and photo gallery from March 2009