Deputy Premier of Alberta Ron Stevens is in Washington this week, meeting with Bush Administration officials and members of Congress to promote the importation of dirty tar sands oil to the United States. Oil Change and our coalition partners took out an ad (pdf) to greet him.

Stevens is expected to advocate that tar sands oil should be exempted under Section 526 in the newly enacted Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Section 526 prohibits the Federal purchase of unconventional or synthetic fuels whose lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are higher than conventional fuels.

Oil Change and a coalition of environmental groups are challenging the Canadian government to slow the tar sands oil development and focus on taking serious steps to clean it up. An ad launched today in Capitol Hill’s Roll Call newspaper features Canada’s iconic maple leaf oozing with oil. A request for a meeting with the Deputy Premier to discuss the tar sands environmental problems was denied.

The following is a statement from U.S. based members of the groups backing the ad in Roll Call:

“Touting Alberta’s commitment to environmental sustainability through the development of the oil sands is ludicrous. Development of oil sands has received widespread criticism due to the enormous amounts of global warming and toxic pollution it creates.

“To date, Canadian federal and provincial plans to address global warming allow carbon dioxide emissions in the tar sands to triple by the year 2020. And there have been no plans announced to address the cleanup of large toxic lakes, the health impacts of native communities or the damage to Alberta’s Boreal forest. Nor is there a commitment to slow down the development of the tar sands until these environmental issues can be addressed.

“In fact, the government of Alberta has just revealed a plan to spend $25 million to dispel what Premier Ed Stelmach called “myths” about the environmental problems surrounding the tar sands oil production in Northern Alberta when he visited Washington in January.”



  • Agree that the oil sands are filthy energy at best and they add to Canada’s carbon emissions balance. Worse, most of the oil is sold to the US who are the most profligate wasters of oil in the world. (25% of the world’s oil for less than 5% of the population).

    Bituminous oil:
    -pollutes water used in the process
    -uses relatively clean natural gas as part of the process (increasing the carbon footprint further)
    -devastates the land

    It should be abandoned. If you have to spend $25 million to defend it, you know something is wrong.

  • I disagree in a small way, yes the oil sands project are producing green house gases, but they are improving. This report is very biased while only showing the bad points and not showing the ways they are trying to improve. For example, the life of a tailing pond has been reduced so that it can be quickly be reclaimed by nature. The law needs these areas to be reclaimed and certified. Most of the water in the tailing ponds are also reused. New technologies are being developed to ease the environmental impact. Another point they forgot to add is carbon capture. Alberta is implementing a new technology proven EFFECTIVE around the world. You capture the carbon in the air and place it into deep secure underground areas where oil was used to be found.

    I agree the oil sands are a waste and that we should take measures to reduce the dependency we have on fossil fuels and to work on promoting renewable resources like solar power and wind.

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