Taking a Stand Against the Environmentally Destructive Tar Sands

For Immediate Release

Taking a Stand Against the Environmentally Destructive Tar Sands

WASHINGTON - The Council of Canadians will join a massive protest on Parliament Hill on Monday, September 26 to say "no" to the expanding Alberta-based tar sands, which are destroying landscapes and boreal forests and poisoning the air, land and water. The action will include non-violent civil disobedience.

It comes after weeks of protests at the White House in Washington, D.C., where activists called on the Obama government to turn down the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry dirty tar sands oil from Alberta to the United States. The Ottawa protest will ask the corporate-oil friendly Harper government to transition away from toxic tar sands and focus on a better future for Canadians that supports green, sustainable energy.

The Council of Canadians is waging a strong campaign against the Alberta-based tar sands, raising awareness about their devastating environmental impacts. The tar sands are Canada's largest source of industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Tar sands mining projects are licensed to withdraw 652 million cubic metres (around four billion barrels) of fresh water per year. Most of this water is polluted by the mining process to the point it cannot be returned to the watershed. Instead, the toxic water sits in tailings ponds, some which have been found to leak, contaminating fresh water sources. Nearby First Nations communities have reported increased cancer rates and other health concerns as the tar sands continue to expand. (To read more about this, read our Summer 2011 Canadian Perspectives article "When the Water Changed" at www.canadians.org/publications/CP/.)

The Parliament Hill action has been supported by the Council of Canadians, the Indigenous Environmental Network and Greenpeace Canada and has been endorsed prominent U.S. and Canadian scientists, Order of Canada members, authors and environmentalists including Maude Barlow, Shirley Douglas, George Poitras, James Hansen, Graeme Gibson, Dr. John O'Connor, Clayton Ruby, Judy Rebick, Naomi Klein, Tom Goldtooth, Bill McKibben, Gordon Laxer, Tony Clarke, Bruce Cox and Joe Uehlein.

"Tar sands oil is dirty oil," said Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians in a recent media release about the event. "Rather than coming up with a conversion plan to a sustainable energy future, the federal and Alberta governments are planning massive increases in tar sands production and the export of this dangerous product to the already oil-ravaged Gulf Coast of Texas. Tar sands mining has destroyed much of Alberta's water table and will put the fragile Ogallala Aquifer in peril."

For more information about the September 26 "Stop the Tar Sands!" action, go to www.canadians.org/energy/.

For more information about the Council's campaign to stop the tar sands, go to www.canadians.org/tarsands.

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