Will Tar Sands Pipeline Threaten Groundwater?
Proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry diluted bitumen, or “dilbit.”
For two weeks in late August and early September, environmental activists staged sit-ins in front of the White House to protest a pipeline that would carry a slurry of tar sands from Alberta, Canada, to Texas.
Their objection? Because the gooey mixture of oil and sand that comprises tar sand must be broken down to form normal crude, extracting it is a messy business that produces far more carbon emissions than does extracting regular crude.
(Related: "Is Canadian Oil Bound for China Via Texas Pipeline?")
But while emissions worries have seized much of the attention directed at the nearly 2,000-mile (3,218-kilometer) Keystone XL pipeline, experts are also concerned about another environmental problem: the threat to water quality all along the