“Alberta’s Energy Minister Ted Morton has responded to this incident by saying tar sands crude could not be involved in the release because Suncor’s Commerce City refinery only processes Wyoming crude. This isn’t actually true. In 2006, Suncor spent $530 million to allow it to process up to 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) of tar sands. John Gallagher, Suncor’s Vice President of Refining, confirmed that tar sands crude from Alberta makes up 10 to 15 percent of the product processed at Suncor’s Commerce City plant. This is another indication that regulators need to have a better handle on what product is moving on which pipelines – information that is critical to recognizing emerging safety problems and responding to spills.”
“Suncor is the oldest of the tar sands producers; up to 90 percent of its production is derived from tar sands bitumen. Suncor recently upgraded the Commerce City facility so it could refine more heavy tar sands crude coming in from northern Alberta, Canada via the Express and Platte pipelines.
The extent of the contamination is still unclear, said Mogerman, who says much of the spill could be escaping the booms set out to contain it. “If the leak involves tar sands diluted bitumen, the contamination could be more severe,” he said. “Tar sands diluted bitumen spills are associated with significantly more submerged oil, which cannot be contained by surface booms.”
Colorado public health and environment officials have known about hazardous leaks in the area for at least a month, Reuters reports.
Kimbel today said there is a long history of problems at the site.”
Brainstorm for folks interested in helping with an investigation, documentary, and application of biochar as a DIY bioremediation tool for oil spills:
Central Theme: peak oil, economic downturn, energy shortages, global change and systems distruption are already contributing to industrial catastrophes and breakdown. Until the overall global system of industrial civilization is replaced with viable alternatives, these events will increasingly damage human and ecological welfare. Previous documentaries such as “Gasland,” “The Cove, and “Sharkwater” approach similar issues with a polarized, incomplete perspective. Instead of attacking the faults of a specific corporation, industry, or practice we seek to reveal the overall systemic issues as well as document DIY bioremediation tools that may be applied on local levels by non-state entities. The severity of global change circumstances strains governmental agencies, industries, and established NGO’s far beyond their abilities to mitigate and adjust to 21st centruy environmental crises. This necessitates innovations in emergency responses and local, DIY solutions that made be shared in open, online forums and applied by relatively novice participants.
Current Progress: collecting and organizing scientific research regarding biochar applications used in oil spills, documenting on-site with photography, investigating details of spill, organizing potential contributors and participants
Next Steps: contact Suncor and conduct interviews, begin documenting and sampling contaminated water in Sand Creek and South Platte, begin applying biochar to oil slick near booms, investigate reports of dead fish and further downstream contamination.