Canadian Oil Sands
Oil from Canada is in such abundance it can provide the United States with nearly 170 billion barrels of oil and remain our nation's biggest supplier of imported oil.
Unbeknownst to many Americans, Canada is America's leading supplier of imported oil, and oil sands from Canada provide a major portion of this supply. Oil sands are naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, water and a form of petroleum called bitumen—which can be upgraded for synthetic crude oil and refined to make asphalt, gasoline, jet fuel and some chemicals. It is estimated the country has nearly 170 billion barrels of oil sands and over time, Canada could increase production from its current 1.4 million barrels per day to approximately 3.5 million barrels per day in 2025.
The biggest value of Canadian oil sands to Illinois is contributing a stable source of energy. This is critical because many of the state's industries, which provide jobs for thousands of Illinoisans and millions in revenue, rely on oil for operations. For example, Illinois’ manufacturing and agriculture industries, major sources of revenue and jobs for the state, use oil for powering their factories, heavy equipment (e.g., tractors, combines, mowers, balers), irrigation, harvesting, transportation, and indirectly for supplies such as plastics.
But rising energy costs threaten the livelihood of businesses in this industry by putting a heavy burden on expenses. Thus, greater access to stable supplies of energy from Canadian oil sands would translate into more cost-effective operations for Illinois businesses and farmers, allowing them to grow their businesses and add jobs. This same effect could propagate across other industries in the state that rely on oil, as well as to other states - increasing the nation's overall energy and economic security.
Upon the latest exasperating delay of the Keystone XL pipeline project, our union - the Laborers' International Union of North America - suggested that the Obama administration grow a set of antlers or take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.