Journalist Dan Grossman and photographer Alex MacLean are in the middle of their week-long tour of the Alberta oilsands. Their on-the-scene reporting is meant to bring greater public attention to the scale – and the stakes – of developing oil from the world’s largest deposit of carbon-intensive bitumen.
As Grossman puts it on the Pulitzer Center website, “We know the ground beneath Alberta’s boreal forest—saturated with an estimated 150 billion barrels of oil—rivals all other troves of oil apart from those of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. We know Alberta’s rich deposits underlie a territory of 54,000 square miles, as large as Iowa. But we can barely comprehend numbers this big. Alex will help us. He’ll show us waste ponds nearly the size of Manhattan and dump trucks that could swallow a McMansion whole.”