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

by ForestEthics Wednesday, Jun. 09, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Press Release

WASHINGTON - June 8 - 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."

The 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.
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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.
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