Activists from the group Rainforest Action Network hung a 70-foot banner over the U.S./Canadian border at Niagara Falls on Tuesday in an effort to pressure President Obama, who will host Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tomorrow, to declare our northern neighbor's low-grade crude oil too dirty to import.[click photo to enlarge]
Canada supplies almost a fifth of U.S. oil imports, more than half of which now comes from the Alberta tar sands, making that region the largest single source of U.S. oil imports. Harper has lobbied hard for maintaining, and even increasing, those numbers.
Obama, in an earlier visit to Canada, signaled some skepticism.
Obama said: "We are very grateful for the relationship that we have with Canada, and Canada being our largest energy supplier, but I think that increasingly we have to take into account that the issue of climate change and greenhouse gases is something that's going to have an impact on all of us and as two relatively wealthy countries, it's important for us to show leadership."Rightly so. Tar sands are just that—dirt with bitumen mixed in. It requires massive amounts of energy (and, as a result, three times the greenhouse gas emissions) to convert the stuff to crude, and processing it is also dirtier than refining standard petroleum. Read more here.
A local report published in The Buffalo News is here.