Why Canadian Oil Sands?
Oil sands from Canada will provide Illinoisans with the fuel to power their cars, trucks and tractors; pesticides to effectively grow crops; and asphalt to build and maintain roads.
Ft. McMurray-Athabasca is more than 2,000 miles from Illinois in Alberta, Canada, but brings significant value to our state. It is the base camp for a region overflowing with oil sands. It is the largest natural resource of oil sands in the world, and according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the area contains more than 170 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
The oil sands are beneath layers of forest and dirt, covering an area the size of North Carolina. There are other regions in the world, notably Venezuela and the Middle East, which also have these resources. Canada, however, is already the United States' largest source of imported oil and can continue to fulfill our energy demands with oil sands that are the most developed in the world.
Aside from security, what do these oil sands mean for the average American? Quite simply, more jobs and easier access to a needed resource.
First, American jobs are created when the Canadian oil sands are explored. By some estimates,342,000 new America jobs will be created between now and 2015 as a result of their development.
Second, the United States currently receives 21 percent of its oil imports from Canada, and half this comes from oil sands. According to a study released in May 2009 by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), if oil sands development is maximized, Canada could potentially account for as much as 37 percent of American oil imports by 2035. With greater access to oil sands, the United States could rely on a friendly neighbor to provide a much-needed energy source.
A steady source of oil is critical to the lives of those whose jobs depend on oil, including farmers who use it to fuel their tractors, irrigation systems and combines; manufacturers who depend on getting their goods to market; and parents who rely on busses to transport their children to schools.
Thanks to a friendly North American neighbor, Illinois has an abundant source of energy to fuel the state well into the 21st century.