06/05/2012 05:12 EDT | Updated 08/05/2012 05:12 EDT

Veniez: I See Your Tar Sands and Raise You These Photos

While I understand Daniel Veniez's recent Huffiington Post blog calling for a reasonable discussion on the fate of the Alberta tar sands, there are some massive oily holes in his argument along with a few bursting pipes.

On the surface, a call for reason sounds good, but it comes at a great cost to the environment where irreparable damage is being inflicted everyday. Unreasonable things are happening in Canada's North and it is not talk that is going to solve these massive problems.

As early as last week a massive pipe burst in Northern Alberta dumped close to a million gallons of oil into the wildnerness and surrounding waterways. The Calgary-based company operating the pipeline, Pace, did not even know about the pipe burst, but was informed by an airplane pilot who spotted the oil leak.

"We have a considerable amount of oil on the ground," said Darin Barter representing the Energy Resources Conversation Board.

In April 2011, 28,000-gallons of oil spilled from the Plains Midstream Rainbow pipeline 100 km north of Peace River.

July 2010, over 800,000 gallons of oil were dumped into Michigan's Kalamazoo River from a ruptured pipeline owned by tar sands giant Encana.

Here's what that looked like:


(Photo courtesy of Greenpeace)

Then of course there is the premanent environmental damage being caused by the mere existence of the tar sands. While I could bore you with facts about the impacts on fresh water and the climate, images in this slideshow speak volumes more:


(Photo courtesy of Greenpeace)


(Photo courtesy of Greenpeace)

There's nothing reasonable about what is happening in my homeland and our country's once pristine wilderness. I applaud Veniez for weighing in on this important issue, but there is a dark and desperate side to the tar sands that must be considered when looking for solutions to this nightmare.