Greenpeace Blocks Giant Tar Sands Mining Operation

Message to Obama and Harper: Climate Leaders Don’t Buy Tar Sands

Press Release by Greenpeace Canada:

Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
— On the eve of the Harper-Obama meeting in Washington D.C., about 25
daring Greenpeace activists have locked down and blockaded a giant dump
truck and shovel at Shell’s massive Albian Sands open-pit mine in
northern Alberta to send the message that the tar sands are a global
climate crime that must be stopped.

Activists from Canada, the United States and France entered the mine
site, about 60 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, at 8:00 a.m. They
blockaded a giant three-storey dump truck and hydraulic shovel by
chaining together pick-up trucks. Two teams then scaled the truck and
shovel and chained themselves to them, while another team placed giant
banners on the tarry ground reading, “Tar Sands: Climate Crime.”

“Greenpeace has come here today, to the frontiers of climate
destruction to block this giant mining operation and tell Harper and
Obama meeting tomorrow that climate leaders don’t buy tar sands” said
Mike Hudema, Greenpeace Canada climate and energy campaigner, from
inside the blockade. “The tar sands are a devastating example of how
our future will look unless urgent action is taken to protect the

Canada is now the number one exporter of oil to the US, most of which
is dirty tar sands oil
. The climate crimes of tar sands
development — rising energy intensity, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,
and Boreal forest destruction
— are leading the world to climate chaos.

The world’s oil addiction has turned the tar sands into the biggest
industrial project on the planet, occupying an area the size of
England. Tar sands GHG emissions, already nearing those of Norway,
could soon more than triple to 140 million tonnes a year. At that point
they would equal or exceed the current emissions of Belgium, a county
of 10 million, as outlined in a Greenpeace report by award winning
author Andrew Nikiforuk released this week. These numbers account only
for the production of tar sands oil, and do not account for the massive
additional GHG impact of burning the fuel. 

“The tar sands are at the leading edge of climate chaos. Climate
leadership from President Obama, Prime Minister Harper and other world
leaders means abandoning the dirty oil that is pushing our planet to
climate collapse and forging a green energy economy and a healthy world
for our children.”

Today’s action targeted Shell, but other major companies including BP,
Suncor, Syncrude, ExxonMobil, Total and StatoilHydro run tar sands
operations that put them at the forefront of oil addiction.

Urgent action on the climate must be front and centre at the United
Nations climate conference in Copenhagen in December. With fewer than
90 days left to the most important climate negotiations in history,
Greenpeace is calling on world leaders to end to the climate
catastrophe that is the Alberta tar sands and to commit to deep
emissions cuts at Copenhagen.

“World leaders need to turn away from the dirtiest oil on the
planet and embrace clean energy alternatives” said Greenpeace climate
and energy campaigner Melina Laboucan-Massimo. “Until they do, oil
interests will continue to dominate and Canada will continue to
obstruct crucial international climate talks like those in Copenhagen.”

Through its KYOTOplus campaign, Greenpeace Canada is working to
convince the Harper government to become a leader at the United Nations
climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

At the time of this release, all activists were still in place.


For high res photos and video, please contact Aube Giroux at 1-416-578-3149 or

For more information, please contact:

Jessica Wilson, Greenpeace media and public relations officer, (778) 228-5404
Mike Hudema, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner (780) 504-5601 (at the blockade)
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, (780) 504-5567

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