Tar sands

Aerial view of Syncrude Aurora tar sands mine in the Boreal Forest north of Fort McMurray. © Greenpeace / Jiri Rezac

Greenpeace is calling on oil companies and the Canadian government to stop the tar sands and end the industrialization of a vast area of Indigenous territories, forests and wetlands in northern Alberta.

The tar sands are huge deposits of bitumen, a tar-like substance that’s turned into oil through complex and energy-intensive processes that cause widespread environmental damage. These processes pollute the Athabasca River, lace the air with toxins and convert farmland into wasteland. Large areas of the Boreal forest are clearcut to make way for development in the tar sands, the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

Greenpeace is also concerned with the social and health costs of the tar sands. First Nations communities in the tar sands report unusually high levels of rare cancers and autoimmune diseases. Their traditional way of life is threatened. Substance abuse, suicide, gambling and family violence have increased in the tar sands. Meanwhile, the thousands of workers brought in by oil companies face a housing crisis in northern Alberta.

Enbridge Inc.'s tar sands tanker pipeline proposal threatens to allow a 30 per cent expansion in tar sands development. Enbridge's tar sands pipeline would span 1,170 kilometres from Hardisty, Alberta to Kitimat, in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. Over the past decade, Enbridge's own pipelines spilled an average of more than once a week. The pipeline would cross over 1,000 rivers and streams and the Rocky Mountains on the way to B.C.'s pristine coastline. The pipeline would bring more than 200 crude oil tankers through some of the world's most treacherous waters each year.

How Greenpeace works to stop the tar sands

  • Pressuring governments: The governments of Alberta and Canada actively promote tar sands development and ignore international commitments Canada has made to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Through direct action, we draw international attention to government climate crimes in the tar sands and demand change.
  • Educating shareholders: We meet with Canadian and international shareholders in oil companies and discuss the investment risks associated with the tar sands.
  • Working with impacted communities: We reach out to landowners and First Nations affected by the tar sands and stand in solidarity with them.

The latest updates

 

Please Donate and Help Stop CNRL from adding to Tarsands Damage

Blog entry by mhudema | March 31, 2014

On Friday, a coalition of First Nation and settler groups living along the Athabasca River called Keepers of the Athabasca launched a unique fundraising campaign . Graphic by Chelsea Flook Help send a message to CNRL...

Beer not Tar Sands:

Blog entry by mhudema | March 25, 2014

Late last week I saw this graph and it blew my mind:   The graph comes from a recent report by CREDBC . The graph shows a much different story then one the Canadian Government and their friends over at the Canadian Association...

So Glad You Asked, Part 3! Greenpeace response to some well worn questions.

Blog entry by mhudema | March 20, 2014

Argument 3: You want us to get our oil from countries like Saudi Arabia that have atrocious human right records? Canada’s oil is ethical oil! Answer: If people actually believed this argument then: a)    They would oppose...

21 groups petition AER to reject CNRL's second application at troubled Primrose...

Blog entry by mhudema | March 14, 2014

Today 21-groups, representing a range of interests, sent an open letter to Alberta's Energy Regulator (AER) demanding that they turn down CNRL's most recent application to begin high pressure steaming it's beleaguered Primrose tar...

Congratulations! You stood up to tar sands giant CNRL and you won!

Blog entry by mhudema | March 10, 2014 2 comments

We won! (for now) CNRL pulls it's re-steaming application. Nine months ago the first of four unstoppable spills was discovered at CNRL’s Primrose site near Cold Lake, Alberta. A few weeks ago, even though the spills are...

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