Tar sands oil opponent gives talk at St. Joe’s

Dylan Voorhees, clean energy and global warming project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, is scheduled to give a free talk at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on April 19 about tar sands oil.

Voorhees’ presentation is titled “Tar Sands Oil in a Global and Local Context: Energy Panacea or Environmental Calamity?” and it will begin at 7 p.m.

Some background on the talk, as provided by St. Joseph’s:

Voorhees will give an overview of the environmental consequences of tar sands oil reserves, which have only recently been considered for extraction as higher oil prices and new technology enable them to be profitably extracted and upgraded to usable products. According to Voorhees, tar sands oil extraction, upgrade, and distribution emit substantially more climate-changing pollutants than those same processes for conventional crude oil.

“Learning about the lifecycle consequences of tar sands oil is vital for an educated citizenry,” says Dr. Jeanne Gulnick, natural sciences professor and sustainability coordinator at Saint Joseph’s College.

Voorhees will examine the potential disruption of the boreal forests of Alberta, Canada, where a big tar sands oil reserve is located. He will also talk about the resource’s potential contribution to climate change and the implication of pipeline development, with a look at the role of policy and civic activism. Proposed pipeline routes include the Keystone XL project through the Midwest, a route west to British Columbia, and an increasing focus on an eastern pipeline to Quebec, New Brunswick and even Maine. According to Gulnick, an oil pipeline that could be converted to tar sands oil runs just miles from Saint Joseph’s College along Sebago Lake.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.