STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Archive for March 14th, 2008

Much-scorned oilsands industry fights to improve its image

Posted by mhudema on March 14, 2008

Mining operations have nothing on Toronto’s urban sprawl, spokesman says
 
Gordon Jaremko
The Edmonton Journal
Suncor Energy president Rick George
CREDIT: Chris Wattie, Reuters
Suncor Energy president Rick George

EDMONTON – Rick George has no illusions about how the oilsands industry that his firm started 41 years ago stands in fashionable opinion.”There are a number of storm clouds threatening to rain on our parade,” the Suncor Energy president reminded the 2008 World Heavy Oil Congress in Edmonton this week.Business and government leaders set out to counter green crusaders’ portraits of Alberta as a dirty energy superpower, or at least clear up some of the hazy imagery, by asking for the oilsands to be viewed through a reasonable sense of proportion.George said industry aims to restore a balanced view in the months ahead, but did not claim the job will be easy.It is no accident the oilsands stick out as a new western target for international environmental scorn akin to the old Newfoundland seal hunt, observed Alberta Research Council president John McDougall.Alberta’s buried treasure differs from all other major energy deposits by being concentrated in a relatively small, accessible area under intense development by a highly visible cluster of industry, McDougall said. Read the rest of this entry »

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PM’s low-risk environmental plan

Posted by mhudema on March 14, 2008

March 14, 2008

Ed Stelmach is just what the Prime Minister needs. He makes Stephen Harper look almost green.The Alberta premier has promised not to “touch the brake” on oil-sands development. He has vowed not to let anybody – not First Nations, not environmentalists, not Ottawa, not even a quintet of oil companies proposing a partial moratorium – slow the gusher. The 56-year-old cattle farmer is cheerfully, shamelessly intransigent on climate change.What better foil could Harper have?Before Stelmach became premier, the Prime Minister sounded tone-deaf on the environment. Before Stelmach declared himself the protector of Alberta’s prosperity, Harper looked deferential to the oil industry.Thanks to Stelmach, he no longer risks being labelled the champion of unsustainable resource exploitation.He can now proceed with modest environmental change.That is not the prevailing view in Calgary, where Stelmach’s recent election victory is seen as a firm roadblock to any meaningful federal action to slow global warming. Read the rest of this entry »

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Please buy our dirty oil

Posted by mhudema on March 14, 2008

Mar 13th 2008 | OTTAWA From The Economist print edition

A new American law could limit oil-sands production in Alberta CANADIANS like to think that although they are the junior partner in their trade relations with the United States, the 174 billion barrels of proven reserves in the oil sands of Alberta provide a powerful ace up their sleeve in any dealings with their energy-hungry neighbour. That belief has now been shaken by an American law that appears to prohibit American government agencies from buying crude produced in the oil sands of the western province.The Energy Independence and Security Act 2007 did not set out to discriminate against Canada, America’s biggest supplier of oil. But that is the effect of banning federal agencies from buying alternative or synthetic fuel, including that from non-conventional sources, if their production and use result in more greenhouse gases than conventional oil. Transforming Alberta’s tarry muck into a barrel of oil is an energy-intensive process that produces about three times the emissions of a barrel of conventional light sweet crude.Having woken belatedly to the danger, the Canadian government is now scrambling to secure an exception. Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador in Washington, has written to America’s secretary of defence, Robert Gates (whose department is a big purchaser of Canadian oil), stressing American dependence on Canadian oil, electricity, natural gas and uranium imports, and noting that some of the biggest players in the Alberta oil patch are American companies. Mr Wilson added plaintively that both George Bush and his energy secretary, Samuel Bodman, have publicly welcomed expanded oil-sands production, given the increased contribution to American energy security. Read the rest of this entry »

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