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America must invest in renewable energy

What are tar sands? Think of sand paper. Then think of sand mixed with a thick oil-tar goo. This is a liquid sand that is corrosive. It eats through weak spots in pipelines and rail car containers. When tar sands are mined, the teeth of the huge mechanical shovels are replaced frequently because the tar-coated sand/glass particles are so corrosive.

What is bitumen? Bitumen is another name for tar sands. It is too thick to flow, so benzene is added. Benzene is a cancer-causing chemical in even tiny, unseen amounts. Bitumen is very volatile, which means it can burst easily into flames.

When tar sand pipelines leak, it is not at the many welds, but next to them where the metal is heated and weakened. When the pipeline life cycle is over, the landowner becomes responsible for leaks and cleanup.

New York State allows Western Canada’s Alberta tar sands to go by rail through Buffalo to Albany. It is transferred to barges, and after a journey down the Hudson River, it goes to refineries. I would prefer renewable energy infrastructure.

Barbara Frackiewicz

Buffalo