Campaign Page

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

AVATAR SANDS Ad

Full-Page ad in Hollywood's Variety shows Pandora's Unobtanium is Canada's Tar Sands - Truck in movie identical to Tar Sands mining truck

HOLLYWOOD, CA, March 4 /CNW/ - The world's best known environmental groups, representing eight countries along with First Nations, are running a full-page ad today in Hollywood's Variety, read by the who's who of the entertainment industry, praising Canadian-born filmmaker James Cameron for bringing to light in film what is playing out in reality in Canada's controversial Tar Sands.... Read more »

Duck Deaths Were a Mistake, Says Syncrude Lawyer

Oil sands giant Syncrude Canada is in an Alberta court this week for the beginning of its trial over the 2008 deaths of 1,600 ducks in one of its tailings (waste material) ponds. Syncrude faces one charge under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act and another charge under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

The 1,600 ducks died in Syncrude’s tailings pond in Fort McMurray, northern Alberta, in April 2008. They sank to the bottom of the pond after becoming coated in oily sludge. It was initially estimated that 500 birds had died, but a revised total was released last March.... Read more »

World's Major Environmental Groups and First Nations Endorse Avatar for Best Picture

Full-Page ad in Hollywood's Variety shows Pandora's Unobtanium is Canada's Tar Sands - Truck in movie identical to Tar Sands mining truck

HOLLYWOOD, CA, March 4 /CNW/ - The world's best known environmental groups, representing eight countries along with First Nations, are running a full-page ad today in Hollywood's Variety, read by the who's who of the entertainment industry, praising Canadian-born filmmaker James Cameron for bringing to light in film what is playing out in reality in Canada's controversial Tar Sands.

The ad, part of a special Oscar edition, has the headline "James Cameron and Avatar - You Have Our Vote". The ad shows a 797B Heavy Hauler, one of the first trucks used to mine the Tar Sands, which is identical to some of the trucks used in Avatar. It also shows the vast open pit mines and tailings ponds that cut across what was once pristine Boreal forest - the same forest that stretched across Cameron's hometown in Ontario.... Read more »

Environmentalists back Avatar for Oscar

With the Oscars looming, environmentalists are appealing directly to Hollywood to select Avatar as the year’s best feature film, linking the blockbuster movie’s storyline of ravaging a planet to obtain a rare and costly mineral to Canada’s mining of the oil sands.

Additional Excerpt:

“You don’t need to go into the future, you don’t need to go into another world to see the kind of planetary destruction that the film depicts,” contends Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, a Toronto-based advocacy group that is one of those funding the ad, along with Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.

Syncrude Canada on Trial

Syncrude Canada is on trial for the death of 1600 migrating birds. The ducks landed in a Syncrude toxic tailings pond in northern Alberta in April 2008. The destruction and toxicity of the tar sands was largely brought to the World’s attention after this deadly incident. The company is charged with failing to employ measures to protect the birds as required by federal and provincial law. This is the first case in which a tar sands company is facing criminal charges as a result of routine operations.

The charges came about only after Sierra Club Canada filed a Private Prosecution against Syncrude in January 2009. The embarrassed federal and provincial governments then took over the case.

Lindsay Telfer, Sierra Club Prairie Director, says the "tailings ponds themselves are on trial."... Read more »

            

 Support Sierra Club Canada Foundation
and Receive a Charitable Tax Receipt! 

SCC Foundation - Donate Today

Sign-up and get involved...

Receive important news and action alerts!