STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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U.S. Mayors Denouce Tarsands

Posted by mhudema on June 24, 2008

U.S. mayors denounce oilsands
Mike De Souza
Canwest News Service
Syncrude's Mildred Lake plant north of Fort McMurray, Alta, is the largest oilsands crude oil production facility in the world.
CREDIT: Chris Schwarz/Edmonton Journal
Syncrude’s Mildred Lake plant north of Fort McMurray, Alta, is the largest oilsands crude oil production facility in the world.

Mayors from the U.S.’s largest cities singled out Western Canada’s oilsands sector on Monday as they called for a crackdown on fuels that could cause catastrophic global warming.

In a resolution adopted in Miami at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting, municipal leaders called for new national guidelines to track the life-cycle impact of different types of fossil fuels. They also urged their member cities to stop using unconventional sources of energy with a large carbon footprint such as liquid coal or oil shale for their own municipal operations.

“The production of tarsands oil from Canada emits approximately three times the carbon dioxide pollution per barrel as does conventional oil production and significantly damages Canada’s Boreal forest ecosystem – the world’s largest carbon storehouse,” said the resolution.

Jennifer Hosterman, mayor of Pleasanton, Calif., said the mayors wanted to send a message that cities are taking action to stop the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere from reaching dangerous levels that could seriously disrupt the living systems on earth.

“We don’t want to be . . . promoting the use of fuels which exceed the greenhouse gas emissions that are currently put into the atmosphere by (conventional) fuels,” said Hosterman, in a phone interview.

The resolution coincided with the launch of a website on Monday from Canadian oilsands producers ( to beef up their environmental and social image.

A spokesperson for a Canadian industry group acknowledged that the sector’s production could result in up to three times more greenhouse emissions than conventional oil, but he estimated that the life-cycle impact of oil from the oilsands is only five to 15 per cent higher.

“The only way we can really address it in the public’s mind, to be honest with you, is to show the environmental performance,” said Greg Stringham, vice-president of markets and fiscal policy at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “You can have this energy developed for the world who’s demanding it (with) higher oil prices, but it must be done in an environmentally and (in a) socially acceptable manner.”

The motion was co-sponsored by mayors from a dozen cities, including San Francisco, Austin, Texas, and Des Moines, Iowa.

“This resolution sends a clear signal to Alberta and to oil producers that they need to get a grip on their greenhouse gas emissions,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based environmental group.

“Concerns about global warming stretch at all levels in the United States right now, and even mayors are sending a clear signal that they really care about where their fuel comes from and how it’s produced.”

Stringham noted that the mayors’ resolution failed to mention new environmental regulations being introduced by the federal and provincial governments that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the industry.

But Das Williams, a member of the city council from Santa Barbara, California, said that politicians should invest in conservation efforts and alternatives instead of promoting Western Canada’s oilsands as a solution to energy security in North America.

“I think that both the people of Canada and the people of the United States are going to have to face some tough choices in the coming years of whether they expand domestic supplies or whether they conserve and invest in alternatives,” said Williams, whose city is committed to becoming fossil free by 2020. “When you realize that you’re addicted to something that isn’t healthy for your civilization, that doesn’t mean that you can quit overnight necessarily. But it does mean that what you have to do is focus on reducing your dependence.”

© Canwest News Service 2008

One Response to “U.S. Mayors Denouce Tarsands”

  1. […] more for oil of a different source — rarely a concern of politicians. Banning a supplier forces the consumer to burn extra energy in working to pay the extra taxes to fund the extra cost of the “clean” fuel. This entry was written by Charles Anthony […]

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