The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Will Craven, US Media Officer,
Phone: 415.863.4563,
x. 314 and
Email: uspress (at)

Key US City Acts to Avoid 'Dirty' Tar Sands Fuel

New Fleet Policy Parallels Corporate Shifts Away From Controversial Canadian Import


The city of Bellingham, Washington has resolved to avoid fuel from
refineries connected to Canada's Tar Sands, becoming the first city in
the United States to take action against the controversial fossil fuel.
Citing concerns about the Tar Sands' toxic impacts on the climate, water
and the city's own greenhouse gas reduction goals, the Bellingham city
council last night unanimously passed two anti-Tar Sands resolutions
sponsored by councilperson Jack Weiss.

Bellingham has served as
one of two major entry points for the Tar Sands (the other is Billings,
Montana), and its anti-Tar Sands resolutions underscore the challenges
facing Canada's Tar Sands in the United States as details spread of its
impact on local and global communities.

"American cities and
Fortune 500 companies are strengthening their resolve against oil from
Canada's Tar Sands," said ForestEthics US Campaigns Director Aaron
Sanger. "The market for toxic fuel from refineries taking Canada's Tar
Sands is becoming more uncertain, and it will become even more uncertain
as the local and global impacts of Tar Sands become more widely known."

Bellingham resolution mirrors actions taken by corporate America at the
request of ForestEthics. To date, ten major US companies have taken
action to reduce or eliminate Canada's Tar Sands in their transportation
footprints. ForestEthics announced action by two of these
companies--Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond--in February. Public
announcement of actions taken by other Fortune 500 companies is expected
sometime this summer.

Tar Sands oil production generates 3-5
times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional oil
production. Production of Tar Sands oil destroys fresh drinking water,
pollutes the air, and razes North America's ecologically critical Boreal
Forests. Communities downstream of Tar Sands projects are facing
elevated levels of cancer. Tar Sands sludge, extracted primarily in the
province of Alberta, cannot be made clean by technological solutions. A
recent report released by Corporate Ethics International, Earthworks,
NRDC, and the Sierra Club details health risks from refineries which
process Tar Sands that are not associated with refineries which process
more conventional forms of oil.

Founded in 2000, ForestEthics is a nonprofit environmental organization with staff in Canada, the United States and Chile. Our mission is to protect Endangered Forests and wild places, wildlife, and human wellbeing--one of our focus areas is climate change, which compromises all of our efforts if left unchecked. We catalyze environmental leadership among industry, governments and communities by running hard-hitting and highly effective campaigns that leverage public dialogue and pressure to achieve our goals.