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US upholds Tar Sands Ban

Posted by mhudema on September 26, 2008

Bid to amend U.S. ‘dirty-oil’ bill fails
Existing legislation could limit business for Alberta’s oilsands
By Dan Healing
Canwest News Service
A U.S. bill would seemingly bar U.S. federal agencies from buying "dirty oil" products - including those originating in the Canadian oilsands. Here, a protest banner hangs over a tailing ponds in northern Alberta.
CREDIT: Greenpeace
A U.S. bill would seemingly bar U.S. federal agencies from buying “dirty oil” products – including those originating in the Canadian oilsands. Here, a protest banner hangs over a tailing ponds in northern Alberta.

CALGARY – A last-ditch effort to amend an energy bill that appears to ban the sale of “dirty oil” products – including those originating in the Canadian oilsands – to U.S. federal government agencies has failed in Washington.

Section 526 of the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 bars U.S. federal agencies such as the military and the postal service from buying alternative fuels if the production creates more greenhouse gases than conventional fuels.

Since it was signed into law last December, opponents have been fighting to repeal or amend it, not so much because they are concerned about Canadian energy exports, but because it appears to counter U.S. Defense Department experiments with coal liquefaction fuels.

Late Wednesday, the U.S. Senate denied an amendment to Section 526 that had been packaged with a Senate authorization bill.

“This is a big step for clean-energy supporters,” said Alberta Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema.

“Especially in a Canadian context, it severely limits the U.S. government’s ability to enter into contracts to get oil from the tarsands because of how large an emitter the tarsands are compared with conventional-oil operations.”

He agreed the bill could also be read to prohibit other non-conventional fuels – possibly even biofuels, depending on how they are produced – unless the section is clarified.

The defeat Wednesday means the end of the battle for this president and this Congress, said Matt Letourneau, spokesman for New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici, the senior Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“This is really largely a problem for the next administration to deal with because of the very real issue of making sure the military has the resources it needs and the ability to purchase what it needs.”

He said the amendment didn’t have a realistic chance of passing the Senate anyway, which is controlled by Democrats, but added that a growing number of Washington politicians in both parties are worried about the section’s implications.

“Our concern would be that when those (fuel) contracts expire, a group could interpret 526 in such a way to say that it prohibits the U.S. from obtaining oil from tarsands, for instance, and then there would be a lawsuit from Greenpeace or whoever else and it would work its way through the courts.

“Meanwhile, our military relies on that fuel and we’re fighting a war.”

More than half of the crude oil produced in Canada comes from the oilsands and that proportion is expected to rise.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and several Canadian politicians have called for clarification of the clause.

© Calgary Herald 2008

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US upholds ban on Tar Sands Oil

Posted by mhudema on September 26, 2008

U.S. Congress upholds restrictions on high-carbon fuels

Last Updated: Thursday, September 25, 2008 | 10:18 PM ET

Mining trucks carry loads of oil-laden sand after being loaded by huge shovels at the Albian Sands oilsands project in Fort McMurray, Alta., in 2005.Mining trucks carry loads of oil-laden sand after being loaded by huge shovels at the Albian Sands oilsands project in Fort McMurray, Alta., in 2005. (Jeff McIntosh/Associated Press)Fuels derived from Alberta’s tarsands could find a tougher market in the United States after Congress decided Thursday to uphold legislation restricting imports of fuels from high-carbon sources.

The decision was celebrated by environmental organizations that have been campaigning against changes to Section 526 of the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Members of Congress have spent the past nine months contemplating whether to repeal or weaken Section 526, which deals with fuels from high-carbon sources such as tarsands oil, liquid coal and oil shale.

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Tar Sands – the new toxic investment

Posted by mhudema on September 17, 2008

Environment: Tar sands – the new toxic investment

Report warns against oil industry’s equivalent of the sub-prime mortgage crisis

Shell and BP have been warned by investors that their involvement in unconventional energy production such as Canada’s oil sands could turn out to be the industry’s equivalent of the sub-prime lending that poisoned the banking sector and triggered the current financial crisis.

The criticism came as a report was released yesterday warning of the potential financial risks of tar sands, and members of the UK Social Investment Forum met in London to consider a Co-op Investments campaign on halting oil industry involvement in the carbon-intensive oil projects.

The report, BP and Shell, Rising Risks in Tar Sands Investment, co-authored by Greenpeace and fellow campaign group Platform, argues that oil majors are trying to make up a shortfall in conventional reserves by an irresponsible dash to extract oil from bitumen and other sources.

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US Fuel Law Bans Tar Sands

Posted by mhudema on September 16, 2008

Alberta blindsided by U.S. fuel law
Ottawa, province must work together to protect our interests on Capitol Hill
Paula Simons
The Edmonton Journal

The U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act passed last December, without a fuss on this side of the border.

Yet Section 526 of the 822-page piece of legislation should have set Canadian alarm bells ringing. The section forbids any federal agency — such as the Defense Department or the U.S. Postal Service — from buying “synthetic” fuel from non-conventional sources for any “mobility-related” uses.

The section was authored by Congressman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and chair of the House of Representatives committee on oversight and government reform.

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Poll: Albertans want a healthy environment

Posted by mhudema on September 15, 2008

Albertans torn between resource riches, protecting environment
Kelly Cryderman
Canwest News Service

CALGARY — Albertans are torn between wanting to reap the full benefits of their natural resource wealth and protecting the environment, a new survey suggests.

“They’re very concerned about the environment, but they don’t want to mess around with the economy,” says Leger Marketing pollster Marc Tremblay.

More than half the Albertans surveyed in the poll for the Calgary Herald – 58 per cent – said governments should take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – even if it means limiting economic development or eliminating jobs.

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Dirty Oil could Bake the Planet

Posted by mhudema on July 31, 2008

‘Unconventional oil not sustainable’

listen

A report on extracting oil from oil sands and oil shale says the methods are environmentally and economically unsustainable and will undermine efforts to combat global warming because of the increased levels of atmospheric CO2 that is produced during production.

According to the World Wildlife Fund and Manchester-based Co-operative Financial Services, oil companies are increasingly looking to exploit new oil sources, previously deemed uncommercial, to meet world demand.

However, the extraction of oil from oil sands and oil shale creates up to eight times as many emissions as conventional oil production does. It also involves three times as much water to produce a barrel of oil and involves forest clearance.

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Disaster Capitalism: State of Extortion

Posted by mhudema on July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

President Bush As Extortionist in Chief?

Disaster Capitalism: State of Extortion

By Naomi Klein

Once oil passed $140 a barrel, even the most rabidly right-wing media hosts had to prove their populist credo by devoting a portion of every show to bashing Big Oil. Some have gone so far as to invite me on for a friendly chat about an insidious new phenomenon: “disaster capitalism.” It usually goes well-until it doesn’t.

For instance, “independent conservative” radio host Jerry Doyle and I were having a perfectly amiable conversation about sleazy insurance companies and inept politicians when this happened: “I think I have a quick way to bring the prices down,” Doyle announced. “We’ve invested $650 billion to liberate a nation of 25 million people. Shouldn’t we just demand that they give us oil? There should be tankers after tankers backed up like a traffic jam getting into the Lincoln Tunnel, the Stinkin’ Lincoln, at rush hour with thank-you notes from the Iraqi government . Why don’t we just take the oil? We’ve invested it liberating a country. I can have the problem solved of gas prices coming down in ten days, not ten years.”

There were a couple of problems with Doyle’s plan, of course. The first was that he was describing the biggest stickup in world history. The second, that he was too late: “We” are already heisting Iraq’s oil, or at least are on the cusp of doing so.

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Big Oil Worries Are High

Posted by mhudema on July 16, 2008

Technology, markets to drive rise in Canadian oil sands production
Steven Poruban
Senior Editor
CALGARY, July 16 — Production of Canadian oil sands bitumen will continue to rise in the coming decades but not without advances in processing technologies and the adoption by producers of varied strategies to market the resulting heavy crude blends.
These were some of the issues raised by speakers July 15 during the opening session of the second annual Oil Sands & Heavy Oil Technologies Conference & Exhibition in Calgary. The inaugural 2-day conference, held in July 2007, also in Calgary, drew more than 880 oil sands executives and senior personnel and more than 50 exhibitors.
Tensions were palpable at the opening session regarding one topic in particular—yet to be discussed fully by conference delegates—likely to serve as this year’s 900-lb gorilla sitting in the middle of industry’s living room: growing concerns in Canada about “finicky talk in the US about the type of oil it allows to cross its borders.
This hot-button topic has its impetus in a resolution adopted last month by the US Conference of Mayors modeled on a section in last year’s Energy Independence and Security Act that raised alarm about potential environmental drawbacks of oil sands. The resolution calls for bans on purchases for use in city vehicles of any fuel with life-cycle emissions of greenhouse gases deemed excessive (OGJ, July 7, 2008, p. 21). Canadian oil sands producers’ concerns hinge largely on such a resolution gaining serious political steam during an already strongly polarized presidential election in the US.
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Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil, See No Evil

Posted by mhudema on July 16, 2008

Heavy oil protest at Telus Centre

Alicia Fox for Metro Calgary
16 July 2008 05:04
ROBIN KUNISKI/for Metro Calgary

A small group of protesters targeted the Heavy Oil Technology conference at the Telus Convention Centre yesterday, protesting the ongoing development of Alberta oilsands.

Accusing the government of “greenwashing,” half a dozen protesters showed up outside the Telus Convention Centre at noon yesterday.

“Our government is insulting our intelligence and lying about (what’s really happening),” said Anna Gerrard, a Greenpeace volunteer, there to protest further development of the oilsands during the Heavy Oil Technologies conference.
“We need to stop adding to the problem,” she said.

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Farmers Fight New Tar SAnds Refinery

Posted by mhudema on July 16, 2008

South Dakota:Farmers fight plans for new oil refinery

By Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston
CNN Special Investigations Unit

ELK POINT, South Dakota (CNN) — Farmland stretches as far as the eye can see — row upon row of corn stalks waving in the breeze. It’s an unlikely place to watch America debate its energy crisis but a battle is raging in this corner of South Dakota over what could be the nation’s first new oil refinery in 30 years.
Hyperion chief executive Albert Huddleston sent CNN a tape of comments in lieu of an interview.

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