Ministry blocks anti-tar sands law, so we block ministry's front door

Posted by jamie — 28 November 2011 at 12:13pm - Comments

Right now, 50 activists are blockading the Department for Transport with two immobilised cars parked in front of the entrance. Why? Because our government is trying to scupper EU legislation that will block tar sands oil - the dirtiest, most polluting form of oil there is - from being sold at UK petrol pumps.

Mining for tar sands is wrecking the Canadian boreal forest, destroying the homelands of indigenous people, and accelerating dangerous climate change.

So why then is the Department for Transport trying to sabotage legislation that would block tar sands oil from European petrol pumps? Looks like they’ve been lobbied hard by the Canadian government and big oil. Now it’s your turn to lobby.

Please write to Nick Clegg: he needs to tell the ministry to stop standing in the way of green legislation. It's time Clegg acted on the green credentials he keeps talking about.

The tar sands deposits of heavy oil mixed with clay and sand lie below the surface of the Canadian wilderness. To extract the tar, oil companies destroy the Canadian boreal forest, gouge out hundreds of metres of top soil, and turn the landscape into a gaping black pit. Two tonnes of earth has to be dug up and processed to produce each barrel of bitumen.

Worst of all, tar sands oil creates three times the emissions per barrel that you would get from normal crude.

On any rational assessment of what's happening to the climate, there's no way tar sands make any sense. Blocking tar sands oil from European forecourts would reduce the carbon impact of European fuels by six per cent.

Next week, officials will meet from across Europe to approve the plan that would prevent tar sands oil from ending up at the pumps. If the proposal goes ahead it would deal a major blow to oil industry plans to expand the Canada’s tar sands open cast mining operations.

Right now the vote could go either way because of the UK-led diplomatic effort to scupper it. That’s why we need your help to put pressure on the department to stop its attempts to block the legislation.

Please join the lobby for legislation to block tar sands from Europe and write to Nick Clegg today.

Update: Greenpeace activists have also visited British embassies across Europe, including those in Paris, Brussels, Stockholm and Berlin. They've been delivering letters to the ambassadors, protesting about the UK's isolated stance on the legislation that could block tar sands from being sold and used in Europe.

Follow Greenpeace UK