STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Put on the Brakes, Before we lose it all

Posted by mhudema on July 2, 2008

Greenpeace website takes aim at Alberta oilsands

by James Emery
Wednesday July 02, 2008

Greenpeace has launched a new web site that takes aim at Alberta’s oil sands development and says it can save tourists the trip of having to see the pollution and toxins it produces for themselves.

TravellingAlberta.ca was launched June 24 and is a tongue-in-cheek travel site that uses humour to try and communicate their message of how destructive they believe the oilsands development is to the environment.

Techniques include using photographs of people participating in various vacation activities such as waterskiing or sand castles being built by children — except tar is prevalent in the photos.

The site was launched “in reaction to the provincial government announcing a $25-million public relations campaign to try and tell the world that the environmental and social problems associated with the tar sands don’t exist,” said Mike Hudema, tar sands campaigner for Greenpeace Canada.

“The rate of development [in the tar sands] is way too fast. I think that a humorous site can help bring those facts to light,” he said.

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“One of the biggest reasons people come to Alberta is because of Alberta’s natural beauty,” Hudema continued.
“People come here for clean and running streams, intact forests, and a lot of that is being lost with this development.

“We have a lot of other valuable things we’re losing because of the tar sands in Alberta and it’s time the government puts the break to it.”

The site is a staunch attack on the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and their website http://www.canadasoilsands.ca, but a spokesperson said they’re not concerned with Greepeace’s newest campaign.

“From our standpoint, we need to be focused on discussing the serious issues and making progress on the environmental performance of this industry,” said Travis Davies, public affairs advisor for the CAPP.

“We launched a website which is basically a forum where any of the public can come and ask questions, and we’ve got CEOs answering them and CAPP answering them,” he said. “There has been a lot of traffic and there’s a wide variety of [issues being discussed] and obviously some of it not very comfortable to the industry. It’s challenging and it’s definitely not being edited.”

“It really seems fairly absurd how the government can deny all the problems associated with the tar sands,” Hudema said.

Hudema added that Greenpeace is not trying to deter tourists and visitors.

“We definitely don’t want to try and get people not to come to Alberta. It’s just the opposite. We’re saying that Alberta has a lot of natural beauty to it and a lot of natural wonder that people come here for, and in order to continue to foster that and continue to get people from around the world to come to Alberta, we shouldn’t be investing in one of the dirtiest project on the face of the planet that is going to start to disturb all that,” he said.

“I would really encourage people to look into the facts. There has definitely been a lot of government and industry spin on it… I really encourage you to get informed and write the provincial government and join the call to put the breaks on.”

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