Toronto – Six environmental organizations took out a full-page ad this week in Roll Call, the newspaper of record on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The ad highlights for U.S. decision-makers the negative environmental impacts of the Canadian Tar Sands and coincides with a trip by Alberta Deputy Premier Ron Stevens, in Washington to defend the Tar Sands as part of a $25 million dollar PR campaign recently announced by his government.
“Of course we can’t compete with $25 million in public funds, but we don’t have to, not when the truth is so unavoidable,” said Matt Price, Project Manager for Environmental Defence. “In this day and age, you can’t paint a black hole like the Tar Sands green. No matter how big your PR budget may be.”

The Tar Sands is the largest industrial project on the planet, extracting oil from sand and clay in Northern Alberta by strip mining or injecting steam underground to melt the oil out. The process requires huge amounts of energy and therefore produces three times as many greenhouse gases as conventional oil. It also leaves behind giant toxic tailings lakes and destroys the boreal forest. The Tar Sands has been identified by many as “The Most Destructive Project on Earth.”

The Governments of Canada and Alberta have weak climate plans for the Tar Sands that let emissions expand rapidly. They both rely on “intensity” measures, reducing emissions per barrel but allowing overall emissions to rise as production rises. As a result, the Canadian government estimates emissions will triple over the next several years.

“The federal and Alberta governments have been missing in action when it comes to cleaning up the Tar Sands,” said Gillian McEachern, senior campaigner for ForestEthics. “Instead of taking the leadership that Canadians want they’re running around trying to persuade the world that everything’s fine.”

The ad was placed by Earthworks, Environmental Defence Canada, ForestEthics, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Oil Change International and the Rainforest Action Network. The groups are calling on the Canadian and Alberta governments to clean up the Tar Sands, which is not only possible, but also viable, by slowing development, reducing emissions and dealing with landscape and toxic issues that are affecting local First Nations.
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To view the ad, visit www.environmentaldefence.ca
 
For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence Canada, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232, cell (647) 280-9521
Gillian McEachern, ForestEthics, (416) 938-6032