STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Environmentalists target jet fuel derived from Alberta oilsands

Posted by mhudema on January 12, 2008

Gordon Hamilton, January 11, 2008, Vancouver Sun — An American environmental lobby group launched a campaign Thursday against airlines using fuel derived from the Alberta oilsands, using the same tactics that proved so successful in limiting clearcut logging in B.C. rainforests.

The Washington D.C.-based Natural Resources Defense Council said it is pressuring 15 major U.S. and Canadian airlines to publicly oppose the use of jet fuel made from oilsands, liquefied coal and shale oil.

Conservation groups in the U.S. and B.C. developed their campaign model on the B.C. Coast.

American purchasers of B.C. lumber and paper products, such as Home Depot and Victoria’s Secret, were pressured to alter their buying by campaigns targeting them as environmentally unfriendly.

Forest companies here changed their practices when purchasers complained they were tired of buying truckloads of two-by-fours that came with a protester hanging off the back.

NRDC claims that some of the aviation fuel used by airlines such as United is derived from oilsands. Extracting and refining oilsands oil generates more heat-trapping global warming pollution compared with conventional oil, the group claims.

In an interview Thursday, Liz Barratt-Brown, senior lawyer for the organization, said the marketing campaign is focusing first on airlines in the Chicago and Denver areas. Those two U.S. cities are prime markets for aviation fuel derived from Alberta’s oilsands, she said.

“The government of Alberta and especially the industry there may not have time to listen to U.S. environmentalists. But when their customers start asking them questions, then they respond,” she said.

“Part of our effort here is to start engaging in the debate over the future of tar sands development and the use of fuels by the aviation industry.”

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