Canada’s oil sands
have been all over the news in the context of the Keystone XL pipeline project that would ship upgraded crude oil and diluted bitumen from Northern Alberta to the US Gulf Coast refining center.

Breaking Energy toured the region and visited some oil sands production projects as part of a media tour organized by the Canadian Consulate General in NY and the Government of Alberta last November. If Keystone XL has become a big deal in the US, the push and pull between environmental consequences and economic benefits at the heart of oil sands development is probably an even bigger deal across the northern border.

The local, provincial and national governments receive an enormous amount of money in the form of taxes, royalties and other payments from oil sands developers, but the environmental impacts are considerable. A long list of stakeholders with various overlapping interests ensures the debate over producing energy from this natural resource will continue on both sides of the border for quite some time.