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While most Americans believe that the Middle East is the source of most of the world's oil, in fact Canada exports more oil to the United States than any other country, and the province of Alberta is home to one of the largest oil fields on Earth, a supply so large that it alone could satisfy the global demand for petroleum for fifty years. However, the oil in Alberta is what as known as "oil sand," and it's the dirtiest and least pure of all types of oil. Extracting useable oil from oil sand is a process that requires a great deal of energy and lots of water -- four barrels of fresh water for every barrel of oil produced, a demand that threatens Alberta's natural watershed. The refining process also creates a large amount of toxic by-products, and cases of cancer in both humans and wildlife have skyrocketed in Alberta since large-scale oil sand refining began. However, while the danger is real and evident, corporate interests and government officials have stood in the way of enforcing the environmental legislation that would mandate cleaner and more efficient refining methods, and noted scientist David Suzuki has said of the situation in Alberta, "We are creating an environmental catastrophe that will take centuries to recover from . . . if we recover at all" H2OIL is a documentary by filmmaker Shannon Walsh that examines the controversy over oil sand in Canada, and can and must be done to stop the crisis before it's too late. H2OIL was an official selection at the 2009 Hot Docs International Film Festival.
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In the community of Fort Chipewyan downstream from oil sands extraction sites, the number of cancer patients has drastically augmented in the recent years. The medical doctor of the community has received a warning form Health Canada for unnecessarily alarming people because he raised some concerns about the cancer levels in the town - especially some rare cancers. Dr. Kevin Timoney, who published a study based on governmental data, voices out his concerns too: the Athabasca river's water is highly contaminated with toxic waste from oil extraction. The government officials and the industry representatives say there is no correlation between oil extraction and illnesses or at least, if there is, it is not as important as the community claims.
This is a documentary to be watched and distributed.