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Mobile Baykeeper is a nonprofit environmental organization with over 4,000 members -- all with a common interest in preserving and protecting the beauty, health and heritage of the Mobile Bay Watershed. Our priorities are clean water, clean air and healthy communities and our motto is Naturally, We’re for Progress. Become a member today for the best possible tomorrow.

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Why Tar sands is more dangerous than other oil

Now that oil supply is dwindling, refineries are resorting to extreme measures to access highly toxic oil from Canada called tar sands. Tar sands is more dangerous than other types of oil because high levels of acidity and sulfur make it more corrosive. Studies show that communities living near refineries that process tar sands are actually at a higher risk of cancer, because of the sulfur dioxide air pollution. As more tar sands are being transported from Canada across the United States, many Americans are now facing these same health risks. Because Canada does not have an extensive pipeline system, tar sands are currently being transported by rail. This is alarming because oil spills occur more often by rail than by pipeline — although neither mode of transportation is completely safe. Transporting tar sands by rail is even riskier, because the oil is so heavy and needs special cars to heat the oil. Last week’s rail explosion in Quebec is a jarring reminder that transporting crude oil by rail, especially heavy crude oil like tar sands, can wipe out communities and destroy lives.