STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Obama May Say No to the Tar Sands

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

Obama’s eyes on oilsands
Democratic candidate’s clean-oil vow threatens Alberta
Sheldon Alberts
Canwest News Service
Supporters greet Barack Obama in Las Vegas yesterday. According to a U.S.-Canada relations expert, it seems the presumed Democratic presidential nominee wants to eliminate 'dirty' oil sources such as the oilsands. 'He is very aware of them and the process that's generating them.'
CREDIT: Reuters
Supporters greet Barack Obama in Las Vegas yesterday. According to a U.S.-Canada relations expert, it seems the presumed Democratic presidential nominee wants to eliminate ‘dirty’ oil sources such as the oilsands. ‘He is very aware of them and the process that’s generating them.’

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama took aim at the Alberta oilsands yesterday, declaring he would break America’s addiction to “dirty, dwindling, and dangerously expensive” oil if he is elected U.S. president

Jason Grumet, Obama’s senior energy adviser, told reporters it’s an “open question” whether the oilsands fits Obama’s plan to shift the U.S. sharply away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

“If it turns out that the only way to produce those resources would be at a significant penalty to climate change, then we don’t believe that those resources are going to play a growing role in the long-term future,” said Grumet.

The remarks amount to a shot across the bow of Alberta’s oilsands industry, which is planning to boost production from 1.3 million barrels a day to 3.5 million barrels over the next decade.

The industry has come under sustained attack from U.S. environmentalists over the past year because its production emits an estimated three times more greenhouse gas than conventional oil.

Yesterday, Obama said in an energy policy speech in Las Vegas that “each and every year, we become more, not less, addicted to oil — a 19th-century fossil fuel that is dirty, dwindling, and dangerously expensive.”

Christopher Sands, a Canada-U.S. relations expert at the Washington-based Hudson Institute, said Obama’s energy policy could pose as big a challenge to the Canadian economy as his vow to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“What he wants to do, clearly, is to eliminate oil sources like the oilsands. He is very aware of them and the process that’s generating them,” Sands said.

“That is a threat to the oilsands and [Canada] has to take this much more seriously.”

Canadian oil was already targeted this week at a convention of big-city U.S. mayors, who singled out Alberta’s oilsands in a resolution calling for national guidelines to track the life-cycle impact of different types of fossil fuels.

The mayors’ attack drew a sharp response from Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, who questioned the logic of attacking the oilsands when the U.S. imports a great deal of its oil from much further away.

“How are you going to convince me that the carbon footprint is less by developing the oil in Iraq . . . and shipping it to the coast and refining it there?” he said.

Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier also blasted his U.S. counterparts, saying they need to visit Alberta in person to “get the facts on oilsands production.”

Canada is the largest supplier of oil and gas to the U.S.

© The Vancouver Province 2008
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