Tar Sands: Dirty is as Dirty Does

This headline in the Calgary Herald today made my day: "Rhetoric driving policy, says chamber".

A more apt headline might be: "Rhetoric driving chamber crazy."

According to the story, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce thinks the term "dirty fuel" unfairly describes Canadian tar sands oil.  The chamber blames "an environmental campaign based on myth" and wants to team up with Canadian industry officials to combat the "dirty" tag.

Karen Harbert, with the chamber, "conceded that environmental groups have been successful in making oilsands 'the poster child' for campaigns against energy development.  She described the campaign against a specific kind of oil from a specific part of the world -- Alberta -- as 'unprecedented' in the United States and the world."

As the article notes, this negative perception has been reinforced in a series of high-profile media articles, such as the new issue of National Geographic magazine entitled: "The Canadian Oil Boom: Scraping Bottom."

Harbert complained that the dirty fuel label is "an easy slogan to glob on to."  She called this a myth that needs to be debunked. "There's rhetoric and there's reality," she said.

Given that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a leading opponent to efforts to address climage change, as noted by the Center for Public Integrity, Harbert's criticism is to be expected.  But it's absolutely baseless.

Here's the reality: Tar sands oil from Canada produces three times the global warming pollution as conventional oil -- and digging it up is destroying the Boreal Forest. 

Denial and denunciation by the Chamber of Commerce won't change this simple fact: dirty is as dirty does.

Learn more at www.StopDirtyFuels.org.