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Dirty Tar Sands Oil

Alberta’s tar sands oil is the most destructive oil on the planet. Tar sands mining, shipping and refining is damaging to the clear cut areas of the Boreal forest, the health of downstream Indigenous and neighboring communities and for intensive amount of carbon it requires to turn the sand and rock into liquid.


Tar sands produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil because of the energy required for processing. Tar sands consists of heavy crude oil mixed with sand, clay and bitumen. Processing includes burning gas to generate heat to steam and melt the oil. Tar sands oil pipeline spills have had a disastrous long term impact on communities in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Mayflower, Arkansas.

With the Indigenous-led movement, strong grassroots action and municipal divestments momentum from the Dakota Access Pipeline, the popular resistance to the Trump Administration, and the low price of oil, mining and pipeline projects that may have earlier seemed financially feasible are now in question. This is a critical opportunity to take an extreme fossil fuel — tar sands — off the table, and begin to create a crack in the edifice of big oil.

Leveraging the next couple of years to erode the social license of business-as-usual private bank financing of tar sands. We see tar sands as a sector in tenuous shape. As supermajors step away, even industry analysts have conceded for some time now, the era of tar sands mega projects is over. Tar sands extraction cannot expand without new pipeline capacity.

To have a liveable and stable climate and healthy communities, no mix of tar sands is a viable option. Tar sands breaks the global carbon budget, damages community health, violates Indigenous sovereignty and is financially uncertain.

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