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The Dirty Truth about Canada’s Tar Sands Industry

Canada’s Tar Sands are located in the Northern half of the province of Alberta along with some deposits in neighbouring Saskatchewan. Covering a landmass of 140,200 km2, or 54,132 square miles, the deposits span a region the size of the State of New York or 2.5 times the size of Nova Scotia. The tar sands are located in the heart of Canada’s Boreal Forest, a nearly continuous belt of coniferous trees that extends across the country. Home to a diversity of plant and animal species the region is commonly referred to as “the lungs of the planet,” as it is one of the largest carbon storehouse in the world, second only to the Amazon rainforest. The region contains extensive wetlands, including bogs, peatlands and fens. The tar sands region of the boreal forest is the traditional territory of the Dene, Cree and Métis Indigenous people. At an estimated 170 billion barrels, Canada’s tar sands have put the country on the global oil map, making Canada 2nd only to Saudi Arabia for proven crude oil reserves. Since commencement of oil sands extraction, nearly 40 years ago, extraction of the resource has climbed steadily to the 1.31 million barrels per day in 2008. This figure is expected to nearly triple by 2018. Tar Sands oil is destined for the U.S. In 2008, Alberta exported 1.51 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil to the U.S., supplying 15% of U.S. crude oil imports, or 8% of U.S. oil demand. As of June 2009, there were approximately 5,012 oil sands (mineral rights) agreements with the Province totaling approximately 82,542 km2 (31,870 square miles). This equates to an area that is nearly the size of the state of South Carolina. Close to 41% of possible tar sands areas are still available for leasing.

Our Demands:

It is no exaggeration to call the tar sands one of the most destructive industrial projects in the world. People, animals and the land are dying as we extract the dirty tar sands oil to feed our North American appetite for oil. WE NEED YOUR HELP! CANADIANS MUST NOW, MORE THAN EVER, UNITE TOGETHER AND DEMAND AN END TO TAR SANDS INJUSTICES TODAY! • The Tar Sands must be included in a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions. • The Tar Sands must be subjected to precautionary water quality standards aimed to stop and eliminate elevating levels of Mercury, Arsenic, PAHs and other carcinogenic toxins. • Treaty Rights must be honoured and upheld. First Nations and Métis Communities must be meaningfully consulted and accommodated before any further development decisions are approved. • We are calling for the Canadian and Albertan governments to take the first step and cease new oil sands approvals and lease sales. The time is now to stop the uncontrolled oil sands development and deal with the environmental and social concerns that it has created. • We furthermore urge our Governments to develop an energy policy, which encourages conservation and promotes the use of safe, clean, and renewable energy sources. Together, we can move our Canada beyond the current dirty oil image. It’s time.

Latest Posts

Canada unveils heavy-vehicle emissions rules

The greenhouse-gas emissions rules - designed to fit with measures already set in the United States - will come into effect starting with the 2014 model year. They will apply to full-size pickups, heavy trucks and buses as well as to cement, garbage and dump trucks.

"The new standards are expected to reduce emissions from 2018 heavy duty vehicles by up to 23 percent from those sold in 2010," Environment Minister Peter Kent said in a speech announcing the rules.

"We expect this to translate into total greenhouse gas emissions reductions of about three megatons annually in 2020 - equivalent to removing about 650,000 personal vehicles from the road," he said.

The right-of-center Conservative government said in May 2010 it would produce new emissions standards for heavy duty vehicles within months but failed to do so.

Last August the Obama administration in the United States unveiled its own similar measures.... Read more »

Bike Rage

This blog was going to be about “bike rage”. I witnessed an incident yesterday walking to work.  I heard an angry yell and an expletive from a woman on bike enraged with the rider in front of her who was dawdling along in the bike lane chatting on his cell phone. The yell was so powerful and heartfelt you could feel the rage across the street. Yet, the dawdler didn’t seem to notice.

Before I could start typing however, I participated in a news conference on Parliament Hill. Yes, if I wear a tie and jacket they still let in the building (for how long?).... Read more »

Regulating trucks is not enough!

OTTAWA — The federal government has confirmed Canada will follow the Obama administration's efforts to reduce pollution from the trucking industry through new proposed regulations introduced Friday.

The Canadian plan to introduce regulations to cap emissions from new heavy trucks comes nearly eight months after the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States finalized their own standards.

... Read more »

Canada Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data Suggests Country Might Miss Goal

OTTAWA, April 11 (Reuters) - Although Canada's output of greenhouse gases was almost unchanged in 2010 from 2009, the major oil producer will find it tough to meet its 2020 emissions-cut target, government figures signaled on Wednesday.

Conservative government officials hailed the data, which showed emissions in Canada rose by just 0.25 percent in 2010 from the year before, hitting 692 megatons. The economy grew by 3.2 percent in the same period.

Canada has committed to cutting emissions to 607 megatons by 2020, a goal that critics say will be very hard to meet due to big increases in production in the oil-rich tar sands of northern Alberta. Tar sands output generates more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production.
... Read more »

What about the trailers? And why is Ontario footing the climate change bill?

Media Release (April 13, 2012)

Sierra Club Canada welcomes long-overdue regulation of heavy trucks but another piecemeal move does not make up for the lack of a national climate plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To address the climate crisis the federal government must cap all industrial emissions and put policies and programs in place to help Canadian families and businesses reduce emissions.

“Emissions will continue to rise until Canada has a national plan. In the meantime piecemeal measures like the truck regulations will be rendered meaningless in the fight against climate change,” said John Bennett, Executive Director.... Read more »

            

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