Green group asks U.S. to bar Canada oil sands

Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:53pm EDT
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By Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An environmental group on Wednesday asked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to deny permits for pipelines that would bring oil from Canada's oil sands to the United States.

ForestEthics said production from Canadian oil sands, also known as tar sands, generates up to five times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil. It said this conflicts with President Obama's pledge to tackle global warming.

"Oil from the tar sands is one of the world's dirtiest," the group's executive director, Todd Paglia, said in a letter to Clinton. "For the U.S., continued dependence on tar sands oil would impair plans to reduce our carbon footprint in the short and long term."

Canada is the biggest foreign oil supplier to the United States and Canada's oil sands are the largest crude deposits outside the Middle East.

The group urged Clinton to deny permits for pipelines that would move the oil to U.S. refineries, particularly the Alberta Clipper pipeline. The State Department has a say in pipelines that would cross the U.S. border.

Enbridge Energy Partners LP's 1,000-mile (1,610-kilometre) pipeline would be able to carry 450,000 barrels of tar sands crude oil a day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. The oil would then be sent to U.S. refineries to be processed into petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel fuel.

The U.S. portion would be 326 miles long and cost $1.2 billion. If approved, it would be operational in mid 2010.

Enbridge spokeswoman Denise Hamsher said the State Department's decision is based on a pipeline, not on oil production that occurs in Canada where it does not have jurisdiction.   Continued...