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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

Fight to continue on EU oilsands rule, say government, environmentalists

The fight over a proposed European Union rule that would penalize fuel derived from Alberta's oilsands was dumped in the laps of European politicians Thursday after a technical committee failed to reach a conclusive stance.

Environmentalists said that improves the plan's chances of making it into law, while Canadian government and industry officials said the vote results tell them which politicians they need to convince to finally defeat it.

"It's a somewhat different fight, but our fundamental argument is the same," said federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.... Read more »

Protect Woodland Caribou with Science, says Sierra Club Canada

Media Release (February 22, 2012)

Club collects 3000 signatures in 4 days opposing the wolf slaughter advocated in federal government caribou ‘recovery’ plan

OTTAWA – Today Sierra Club Canada formally submitted a response to the federal government’s proposed "Woodland Caribou Recovery Plan" on behalf of almost 2700 Canadian "radicals" and 300 "foreigners".

"Woodland Caribou are declining as a result of habitat loss and disruption. Period. Killing wolves is not the solution to their recovery," said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. “There is no scientific evidence that slaughtering wolves will help the caribou population recover. The federal plan must be withdrawn and rewritten based on science.”... Read more »

Canadian government is 'muzzling its scientists'

The Canadian government has been accused of "muzzling" its scientists.

Speakers at a major science meeting being held in Canada said communication of vital research on health and environment issues is being suppressed.

But one Canadian government department approached by the BBC said it held the communication of science as a priority.

Prof Thomas Pedersen, a senior scientist at the University of Victoria, said he believed there was a political motive in some cases.

"The Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) is keen to keep control of the message, I think to ensure that the government won't be embarrassed by scientific findings of its scientists that run counter to sound environmental stewardship," he said.... Read more »

Tar Sand impacts posing 'financial risk' to Alberta, says PCO

OTTAWA — Collateral damage from Canada's booming oilsands sector may be irreversible, posing a "significant environmental and financial risk to the province of Alberta," says a secret memorandum prepared for the federal government's top bureaucrat.

The memorandum, released by the Privy Council Office through access to information legislation, also raises doubts about recent industry and government claims that oilsands companies are reducing heat-trapping gases produced by each barrel of oil.... Read more »

Ottawa’s new anti-terrorism strategy lists eco-extremists as threats

After vowing to take on radical environmentalists determined to stop the Northern Gateway pipeline, the Harper government has released a new anti-terrorism strategy that targets eco-extremists as threats.

With his announcement this week, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has increased the concern among environmentalists that Ottawa regards them as implacable adversaries to be monitored and battled, rather than well-meaning advocates to be consulted.

“This is just one more step in their attempt to marginalize the environmental movement and to quiet its voice,” John Bennett, executive director of Sierra Club Canada, said Friday. “It’s an indirect suggestion that somehow environmentalism is attached to terrorism and that’s just wrong.”... Read more »

            

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