Environmental groups Equiterre, ForestEthics and Environmental Defence have joined forces to keep Alberta’s Tar Sands oil from entering Quebec through a proposed pipeline reversal. Today marks the launch of www.petrolesale.org, an online petition where Quebecers can request the pipeline proposal be flat out rejected. Each signed letter will be sent directly to all federal party leaders. Also today, Enbridge, the Calgary-based pipeline compan, is holding an open house about its proposal that the environmental groups will be attending.
Enbridge is applying to the National Energy Board for permission to transport oil from the Alberta Tar Sands by pipeline through Ontario to Montreal. Some of the tar sands oil would be refined in Montreal for use in Quebec, and the rest would be transported by pipeline to Maine and then shipped by tanker ships to the Gulf Coast, to the largest refining market in the United States. If the federal government approves the plan it would facilitate the expansion of Alberta’s Tar Sands by an estimated 230,000 barrels a day and increase annual greenhouse gas emissions by 6.5 million tones.

“Quebec must tell the federal government to say no to this oil pipeline, or we can help facilitate the growth of Canada’s fastest rising source of emissions,” said Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre. “The choice is pretty clear.”

By 2012, just one tar sands company, Suncor, is expected to grow its emissions by the same amount as the entire province of Quebec proposes to reduce emissions.

“The federal government has written Canada’s climate policy to let the Tar Sands grow and now Quebec is being asked to help with this oil development despite being a leader in tackling climate change,” said Gillian McEachern, climate campaigner with ForestEthics. “This has to stop. No more development can take place until the Tar Sands are cleaned up and strong regulations are in place,” she added.

Enbridge has stated it will officially ask for permission for the project in November. In addition to the petition, the environmental groups will be releasing a new advertisement next week, engaging in the regulatory process and reaching out to Quebecers to send a strong message to the federal government.
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For more information, please contact:
Eveline Trudel-Fugère, Equiterre, (514) 605-2000
Gillian McEachern, ForestEthics, (416) 938-6032