I wrote a diary on Friday about our action on the tar sands. This stuff is really dirty, so here are some bullet points first from dirtyoilsands.org:
+Production of oil from tar sands bitumen produces between 3 and 5 times the greenhouse gas pollution of conventional oil production.
+Oil sands extraction uses significant amounts of water (2-4.5 barrels per barrel of oil produced), which ends up in toxic tailings lagoons that have never been successfully reclaimed.
+The term "oil sands" or "tar sands" oil refers to thick oil called bitumen that is mixed in with sand, clay, and water. Intensive energy is required to process the sands into crude oil.
+Oil sands operations currently use about 0.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. By 2012, that level could rise to 2 billion cubic feet a day; more than the nominal capacity of the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project.
I've been getting really worked up about this huge source of dirty energy right on our doorstep, and on Friday I helped plan a protest in front of the state department. A bunch of us organized a street theater scene where the evil Tar Sands Monster sucked the US, Canada and the rest of the world into the pit, and slimy oil executives from Shell and Royal Bank of Canada (more on RBC below) tried to step Hilary Clinton from saving the day. Specifically, we were asking her to say no to a proposed pipeline which would carry tar sands oil into the US and expand our dirty energy infrastructure just when we're claiming to move towards a clean energy future.
That action reached about 1000 state department employees on their way to work, and brought staffers out to inquire about what we were doing and what they could do to work with us. (because no one likes a protest on their doorstep.) We're still waiting for them to get back to us to schedule a meeting about the pipeline.
But there's not much time to waste, since she could make a decision on this any day. On top of that, Avaaz.org sent out an email today to their US list asking for calls to Clinton's office to deny the pipeline. It looks like their phones have been ringing off the hook, or to take a phrase from the right, we're 'melting the switchboards'.
So the pipeline is one important piece of the tar sands puzzle, but we need to be firing on all fronts to stop tar sands, which are touted as a safe, 'alternative' source of energy. Try telling that to the indienous peoples who have been poisoned by the waste. Try looking at google earth and tell me the tar sands aren't a huge blight on one of the few pristine wilderness areas (and carbon sinks!?!) If you are in the US call the state department. 202-647-6575
If you are in Canada, join RAN in protesting RBC. RBC is the largest financier of oil sands, even while claiming a clean environmental record! A spokeswoman for the bank today said they had been in dialogue with the group for months, "We’re really proud of our reputation in terms of environmental responsibility," Ms. Gay said.
RAN has a history of running really effective and hard hitting campaigns. Their forests campaign got Home Depot to stop selling old growth wood, for example. Lately they have targeted City Bank and Bank of America for funding mountain top removal with some significant success.
There are lots of ways to help promote this. RAN's website has a call to action, and Avaaz is calling on members to call.
Use the twitter tag #oilsands to discuss the issue.
This diary is part of the ongoing DK-Greenroots group and our efforts to raise ecological issues in the DK community with a focus on political action. Please join the fight.
Comments are closed on this story.