This mountaintop in Colorado Springs is unusual. Instead of a familiar jagged-edge peak or rounded surface seen from a far, it appears to have been shaved off diagonally and removed. The vegetation is thin, but recovering. It is as much of an eyesore as spotting the cell phone towers along I-25 off Monument. I had never thought to look up the mountain until I researched images of what tar sands extraction looked like before and after.
The mountain is referred to as the “scar” or Scar Mountain. Mining caused Scar Mountain. This scar is the result of a rush to extract a precious commodity, which was gold at the time. Nowadays, it is oil that could cause more scars on Colorado land. The past scars have yet to fully heal before a new, foolish rush to extract a resource could potentially leave larger wounds that may be unable to heal. Thankfully, President Barack Obama has postponed and potentially killed a pipeline that has made the news: the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Non-conventional oil extraction plans have not been halted. The future mining could come to our Colorado backyard as well as Wyoming and Utah in a project named Green River Basin, but the cons outweigh the pros. Foreign Oil dependence is not the nation’s problem, it is fossil fuel dependence entirely. The environment should not have to be held responsible for the global addiction to oil.
As reported by responsibleenergy.org, I believe that the basin possesses reserves that exceed foreign supply. It is not hard to comprehend the amount of reserve non-conventional oil either—upward of one trillion according to the website. But the site also states that non-conventional oil may be the bridge in advancing from oil to other energy sources and may delay “peak oil” consumption and turn back the clock of the years we can be certain to have oil, but I disagree. Building the Keystone XL Pipeline and harvesting Canada’s non-conventional oil and the Green River Basin provides oil addicts another fix until they’re ready to admit they need rehab.
Extracting non-conventional oil only alerts me to the fact that we have become completely desperate to get one last high, not minding the repercussions for our actions.
Cons in the short list mentioned from Responsible Energy states that the environmental effects are not well understood and extracting the non-conventional oil requires more fossil fuels and energy that is obtained from the NCO.
It doesn’t make sense to keep an addiction growing by wasting more energy retrieved and embark on a desperate measure when the environmental externalities are not well understood.
In a press release on Tar Sands Action, activist and author Bill McKibben says the action that brought the postponement of the Keystone XL Pipeline aids us in fighting oil dependence in the future.
The image search of before-and-after pictures of tar sands extraction left an off-setting image even worse than seeing a wounded mountaintop. I do not want to see the land so overturned and picked through that rivers are no longer present, piles of “useless” soil thrown aside because it does not contain precious oil, requiring life to slowly return.
Scar Mountain will never fully heal, but with conscientious people who do not want to depend on fossil fuels anymore, perhaps we will not have to see any more scars made by humankind’s hand in the name of an addiction. Do not support Green River Basin, and to obtain more information on Tar Sands Action, go to tarsandsaction.org and discover how to help.