Tar Sands earth mover

There’s nothing worse than having to hear the whining and gnashing of teeth, especially when the oil industry feels like THEY got a raw deal.  BOO HOO!  Well, then of course the whining is worse when it was Big Oil that started the whole hissy fit and continues to throw gasoline on the fire!

Latest case in point:  The oil industry’s claim that Avatar got the extractive mining of tar sands in Alberta all wrong. In case you haven’t heard about the real world example that James Cameron drew upon for his fable about the raping and plundering of a planet and people for a precious substance buried in the ground, please check out the National Geographic feature or dirtyoilsands.org.

Cameron’s stark portrayal of the strip mining of vast pristine acres of forests, of the impacts on indigenous people and of smoking refineries that blacken the sky is drawn in great detail from what is going on in Canada right now in the Boreal Forest region of northern Alberta.

So after the film became a mega-hit, the oil industry reacted quickly by blogging and flogging Cameron about how he got the whole thing wrong.

What?  Are the tar sands operations a clean and green deal?  Are thousands of acres of forests and bird habitat not being turned into scorched Earth?  Are the people and wildlife downstream not suffering from cancer, mutant fish and a host of serious diseases?  Is the whole thing just another treehugger attack on jobs and our need for secure energy?

That’s not exactly what they said.  In fact not at all what they said.  One pro-oilie wrote:

“The main divergence between movie myth and actual fact is in the use of the bucket wheel excavator. In the movie, they used a variation on this machine, at one time used for mining in Northern Alberta. They were eventually discontinued because production depended on the health of that one machine; if the machine broke, the mine would not be producing. The movie exploited this flaw by basing its plot on the idea that if they disabled this one machine, they would be able to stop oil production.”

Huh?  So what about the big issues in the film: genocide of indigenous peoples and their environment?  Is that wrong too?  Another pro-tar sands blogger opined:

“the fallacy over how they mine the deposits on the planet is one of the lessons learned from the mining of the oil sands in Alberta, which is actually what I want to discuss a little today. In the movie they use a variation on a bucket wheel excavator – which in today’s world looks like this”

Ok, right, in Avatar, they used an old big wheel thing-a-gig, instead of the more reliable one we use now to tear up three acres of forest to make 1 little barrel of dirty oil.  I have to agree that is a REALLY big deal – glad you brought that to our attention.

Anyway we owe a big thank you to the pro-tar sands oilies for starting the whole controversy and once again proving that these guys have lost touch with reality in their relentless pursuit of the last drop of oil no matter what the cost to the planet and its people.

If you want to tell President Obama to stay away from allowing tar sands from coming to the United States – add your voice to our petition.