U.S. President Barack Obama met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday, marking their second official state visit and stirring up more protests against the importing of oil from Alberta’s tar sands.
Greenpeace activists chained themselves to an earthmover, shutting down operations at a site in Alberta, and the Rainforest Action Network released a 70-foot banner over the U.S.-Canadian border in Niagara Falls.
Daily production of 1.2 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to nearly triple to 3.3 million barrels in 2020, according to an MSNBC report. Due to an energy-intesive extraction process, tar sands oil has a much greater carbon footprint than oil tapped from traditional wells. In addition, huge tracts of forest must be cleared to remove and process the tar sands.
Native American and environmental groups filed suit in federal court earlier this month challenging a proposed tar sands oil pipeline between Canada and the United States.
The Obama administration is stuck between wanting to reduce the country’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil and needing to cut carbon emissions. Obama has said he wants to pursue carbon capture programs with the Canadians–a solution that is likely to have only a small impact on emissions, and not any time in the near future.
Read the MSNBC coverage at the link below.