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October 12, 2008 4:00 AM

U.S. taps Canada's oil sands — but at what cost?

For decades, the U.S. has vowed to reduce its dependence on imported oil and to find a reliable source to meet the nation's growing oil needs. Now, Canada offers a solution. While oil supplies are dwindling in some places, or disrupted by hurricanes, threatened by terrorist attacks or controlled by hostile governments, Alberta's oil sands — a patch of forest about the size of Florida with a sea of oil beneath it — produce more crude than all the wells in Texas or Alaska.

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