FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2010
Contact: Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club
Charles Campbell, Dogwood Initiative
Tel: 250 370 9930 ext 22 cell: 250 858 9990
Athletes, Environmentalists Call on Canada to Save Winter Olympics, End Oil Sands Destruction
Canada's Dirty Oil Speeds Global Warming, Threatens Future Snowpack
Vancouver, B.C. - Champion winter athletes joined with international environmental groups today in calling on Canada to save the Winter Olympics.
"Canada has some of the best snowboarding in the world, but the oil sands industry is going to blow it. This is the dirtiest oil on earth. If want to save our snow, we have to stop it," said Jeremy Jones, big mountain snowboarding legend and founder of Protect our Winters.
Increasing concern over the impact of global warming on the future of snow sports is putting a spotlight on Canada's oil sands industry, the country's fastest growing source of global warming pollution and the dirtiest form of oil in the world.
"We can't seriously combat global warming while getting fuel from the world's dirtiest source. Unless we act now to combat climate change, it could put an end to the winters we know and love," said Mike Richter, Olympic hockey goalie and silver medalist.
Today, Sierra Club launched a U.S.-based "Love Winter, Hate the Oil Sands" campaign that includes ads targeting winter sports enthusiasts, a new website, a sticker giveaway, and tens of thousands of emails asking Americans to sign a petition to President Obama.
In Vancouver, environmental watchdog Dogwood Initiative will be guiding a team of polar bears through the city in an effort to rescue the Winter Olympics from the oil sands industry.
Oil sands production emits three times the global warming pollution as conventional oil and requires clear cutting ancient forests, wasting and polluting water, and leaving behind massive toxic lakes. By accelerating climate change, the oil sands threaten to bring more drought, receding glaciers, and early snowmelt, creating a bleak future for Olympic sports like skiing and snowboarding.
"As a skier, I've already witnessed glaciers melting and ski areas closing around the world because of climate change," said Alison Gannett, world champion freeskier and founder of the Save Our Snow Foundation. "The global warming emissions from the oil sands are a threat to the future of skiing and the health of our kids."
The industry has proposed expanding into the U.S. via a sprawling network of pipelines and refineries that would crisscross Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota and Illinois, in many cases using substandard pipe and threatening drinking water and farmland.
"If we allow the oil sands to expand into America, it will undermine all we've done to create good, clean, homegrown American energy. By denying permits for these pipelines, we can signal to the rest of the world that our nation is serious about becoming a global leader in the clean energy economy," said Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope.
Opposition to the oil sands is growing as Americans learn more about the industry. Just last week, two Fortune 500 companies, Whole Foods and Bed Bath and Beyond, announced efforts to remove the oil sands from their supply chains.
"Canada's identity as a winter wonderland is threatened by its government's support of dirty oil and inaction on global warming," said Charles Campbell of the Dogwood Initiative.