Comparing oil sands waste to yogurt is allowed in Canada

Ben Geman
The Hill's Energy & Environment blog
Date published: 
Tue, 2010-11-30

An unusual proxy battle in the green movement’s wider effort to slow Canadian oil sands development is over — and the industry won, more or less.

“The Alberta oil patch has avoided potential embarrassment after Advertising Standards Canada ruled that an advertisement that compared toxic oil sands effluent to yogurt did not mislead viewers,” The Globe and Mail reported on its website Tuesday.

“The Sierra Club of Canada had complained that the ad was a ‘greenwashing’ attempt to untruthfully make the oil sands sound environmentally benign. The ad featured a Suncor Energy Inc. ... employee named Shelley Powell, who in a spot about tailings — a key issue confronting the oil sands — said they are ‘essentially like yogurt,’” the piece adds.


The Globe and Mail piece notes that the industry group “said the French version more clearly communicates that ‘yogurt’ is meant solely as a consistency comparison. The industry plans to begin re-airing the English version, minus the yogurt reference, soon.”

Sierra Club Canada, meanwhile, thinks the industry trade group should focus its efforts elsewhere. “Rather than spend so many resources trying to convince the public that everything is A-ok, CAPP should agree to a moratorium on new developments,” said Sheila Muxlow, director with the Sierra Club Canada Prairie Chapter, in a prepared statement Tuesday.



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