Environmental News: Media Center


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact: Serena Ingre, 202/289-2378 or 703/296-0702 (cell)
If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at nrdcinfo@nrdc.org or see our contact page
Alberta Premier to Visit Washington
Dirty Tar Sands Fuel Expected High on the Agenda

Washington (January 16, 2008)  -- Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is on a trade mission to Washington, D.C., today where he is expected to seek American support for, and investment in, one of the dirtiest sources of unconventional fuels – the Canadian tar sands. Tar sands oil production generates almost three times the global warming emissions as conventional oil production, due to the massive amounts of energy needed to extract, upgrade and refine the oil.
 
“Oil from the tar sands is about our energy past, not our future. Political and business leaders who want to fight global warming should be concerned about expanding U.S. imports of tar sands fuel,” said Liz Barratt-Brown, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “The U.S. should not rely on a dirty fuel that results in the destruction of Canada's biologically rich boreal forest for tar sands mining and drilling.”
 
Concern about tar sands fuel is growing in the United States. Last summer, British Petroleum (BP) was forced to table expansion plans to take more tar sands oil at its Whiting, Indiana, refinery after concerns about added pollution in Lake Michigan were made known to the public. Opposition is growing around plans to build the first new refinery in 30 years in South Dakota, a new 1,800 mile trans-boundary pipeline from the tar sands to the Midwest, and proposed expansions of many of the refineries in that region. Last week, NRDC asked the airline industry to publicly oppose the use of fuel made from highly polluting sources,including tar sands, and called on the companies to join a campaign seeking increased investment in cleaner fuels throughout the airline industry.
 
“Canada risks becoming an international pariah for promoting the tar sands instead of joining the fight against climate change” said Tzeporah Berman of ForestEthics in Canada. “The bottom line is Stelmach should put the brakes on tar sands expansion and address the rising environmental and social concerns instead of running around Washington like an oil salesman.”
 
“Emissions from tar sands are so much greater than conventional oil that using more of this oil will significantly undermine the global commitment to combat climate change,” said Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International.
 
“The future of the West is clean energy, not dirty oil piped-in from the Tar Sands,” said Bruce Baizel of EARTHWORKS, and located in Colorado. “Here in the West, we won’t sacrifice our climate or the Boreal Forest of our northern neighbors just to fill our gas tanks.” 
 
An area the size of Florida could be directly affected by strip mining and drilling for the tar-like substance that is turned into transportation fuel. Huge amounts of natural gas and water are used and neighboring Aboriginal populations are experiencing rare cancers suspected to be caused by toxic substances that have leached downstream from tar sands production. Also at risk is Alberta’s northern boreal forest, the largest terrestrial storehouse of climate regulating carbon and the nesting ground for millions of songbirds and waterfowl.
 
For more on the Premier and the tar sands issue, see George Peridas’s blog on NRDC’s Switchboard at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/gperidas/tarry_tarry_night.html

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

ForestEthics, a nonprofit with staff in Canada, Chile and the United States, works with individuals, corporations and governments to protect Endangered Forests and biodiversity, and to build strong, sustainable communities. Visit www.ForestEthics.ca for more information. 

Oil Change International campaigns to expose the true costs of oil and facilitate the coming transition towards clean energy. 

EARTHWORKS is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral development, in the U.S. and worldwide. More information is available at www.earthworksaction.org.


Sign up for NRDC's online newsletter

See the latest issue >



NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.


Donate now >

Share | |