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Members of European Parliament appeal to companies to stop tar sand business

by Members of European Parliment

(Brussels, December 11, 2009):

A group of 11 MEPs, representing three political groups and seven countries, is today appealing to the leaders of four European oil companies to stop producing oil from Canadian tar sands, a process causing 2-3 times more pollution than the production of conventional oil.

The MEPs have today sent an open letter to the CEOs and Chairmen of the Boards of Directors of Shell, BP, Statoil and Total, of which all are active in the highly polluting tar sand business in Alberta, Canada. They appeal the business leaders to think about the future of the planet and to turn from dirty fossil fuels towards cleaner energy sources.

Satu Hassi (Greens/EFA, Finland), comments:
"At the time when countless of people all over the world are expressing their concern about climate change and thousands of negotiators have gathered to Copenhagen to the biggest attempt ever to save the planet from over-heating, the tar sand business is an outrageous example of irresponsibility. The negotiators in Copenhagen cannot save the climate by themselves - we all need to do our share."


Corinne Lepage, Vice-Chairwoman of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament (ALDE, France) comments:

“We believe that the tar sands business has a very negative impact on Canada's negotiating position in Copenhagen. Tar sands are one of the reasons why Canada has failed to live up to its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, they should not be a cause for Canada to undermine the possibility to get an ambitious agreement in Copenhaguen.”

Kriton Arsenis (S&D, Greece) comments:

"The environmental and health impacts of tar sand extraction are huge. In addition to being 2-3 times more carbon intensive than the production of conventional oil, the process causes severe air and water pollution, destroys livelihoods of indigenous communities and produces toxic waste. It is clear that this is not the way the energy companies should go. Instead they should focus on the clean energy sources that have broken growth records year after year, even during the current recession."

Gerben Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE, the Netherlands) continues:

"Another problem of the tar sand business are the extreme impacts on the regional environment in terms of deforestation and loss of biodiversity. If the loss of forests and biodiversity were calculated in the total costs of the tar sands exploration - and it should be! - it would not be economically feasible to go on with this business."


Additional information: Marja Kaitaniemi, policy adviser to MEP Satu Hassi, tel. +32 496 30 35 10

And Eric Gall, policy adviser to MEP Corinne Lepage: +32 491 07 25 37

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