Tar Sands Moratorium


Development of Alberta's Tar Sands is behind Canada's claim to being an energy super power. In a world rapidly moving to a low carbon future, Canada is planning massive investment in the dirtiest energy development in the world. All this is happening in the absence of a national debate on what this means to our future. The risks are enormous.

The Tar Sands, which underlie approximately 150,000 square kilometres of Boreal Forest (an area the size of Florida!), are one of the biggest social and ecological challenges facing Canada and North America, fuelling climate change, destroying pristine forest, and drying-up important river systems. As development continues at an alarming rate, concerns mount over the impacts on communities and the environment.

The pace and scale of Tar Sands development is outstripping the ability of the federal, provincial and local governments to protect public health and the environment. Adequate measures are not being taken to protect the air, forests and water resources, not to mention protecting public health or reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach, recently admitted that the pace of development is also placing extreme stress on basic essential services like housing, education and health care.

The Tar Sands are already the single fastest growing source of GHG emissions in Canada and will constitute almost 50% of the increase in overall Canadian GHG emissions between 1990 and 2012. The area covered by Tar Sands development is now approaching 50,000 square kilometres!

Tar Sands development projects are being driven by U.S. and foreign demand for oil, not Canadian demand. Canada produces roughly 45% more energy than it consumes. The reality is over half of the investment and ownership in Tar Sands projects are foreign - not Canadian. Unsustainable development of the Tar Sands may benefit a handful of companies, but it does not benefit Albertans or other Canadians.

Twenty years of uncontrolled growth is enough - it's time take a breath, place a moratorium on further Tar Sands development, and use the time to develop a sensible, sustainable strategy for development and for Canada as an energy super power.

New projects should not be allowed to proceed until all outstanding social and environmental concerns have been fully studied, and the cumulative impacts of recent development have been established.

I am calling on you to place a moratorium on all new Tar Sands projects until Canada develops a long-term energy strategy that fully takes into account climate change and our place in a global low-carbon future.

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