Sierra Club

Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

February 10, 2009

Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club (415) 977-5619
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence Canada, (416) 323-9521 x 232
Lisa McCrummen, Obama2Canada: (206)321-9461
William Craven, Forest Ethics: (415) 407-3426

Groups Urge Obama to Stand Strong on Clean Energy in First International Visit
Canadian Government Wants Special Treatment for World's Dirtiest Oil

Washington, D.C. - Today, an international network of environmental groups is launching a cross-border campaign urging President Barack Obama to stand strong on his new energy economy agenda and reject entreaties from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to shelter the dirtiest oil on earth from global warming regulation.

"Tar sands oil is the dirtiest form of energy in the world. It has no place in President Obama's plans for a clean energy economy," said Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Campaign Coordinator Pat Gallagher. "Tar sands oil accelerates global warming. It destroys forests. It endangers public health. Instead of importing this expensive, dirty oil, we can invest in clean energy that will create millions of much-needed, sustainable jobs."

On February 19, President Obama travels to Canada on his first presidential visit abroad, where he will face pressure from the Government of Canada to support production of Alberta tar sands oil. Producing oil from tar sands emits three times the global warming pollution as conventional oil, requires excessive amounts of energy and fresh water, and destroys huge swaths of boreal forest.

Leading up to Obama's visit, environmental groups will conduct a wide variety of outreach, including running newspaper ads, launching a new website, and asking Americans and Canadians to sign letters and petitions to Prime Minister Harper and President Obama.  The campaign kicks off today with an ad in Roll Call, a prominent Capitol Hill newspaper in Washington D.C.

“The new energy economy means a green economy, and the tar sands just don't fit," said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence Canada. "Tar sands oil is dirty oil. We need to eliminate both the carbon emissions and the toxic pollution that is destroying the environment and harming human health.”

More information, including photos, B-roll video and other campaign materials are available on

Obama2Canada Partners Include:

Calumet Project
Council of Canadians
Environmental Defence
Forest Ethics
Global Community Monitor
Greenpeace Canada
Honor the Earth
Indigenous Environmental Network
Plains Justice
Polaris Institute
Oil Change
Sierra Club U.S.
Sierra Club Canada


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