Monday 19th December – for immediate release
A coalition of organisations  is calling on the Canadian government to stop sending spokespeople to interfere in EU legislation. Alberta’s Minister of Intergovernmental, International and Aboriginal Relations Cal Dallas has travelled to France, Switzerland and now the United Kingdom  to repeat Canada’s arguments that the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive (FQD)  discriminates against Canada’s tar sands. 
“Canadian tar sands are not getting attention in the EU because we want to discriminate against them or sabotage the Canadian economy,” said UK Tar Sands Network campaigner Suzanne Dhaliwal. “Canada is receiving this attention because of the unprecedented attempts to undermine democratic climate legislation, and the gravity of the environmental destruction and human rights violations taking place to extract tar sands in Canada.”
The tour was announced three days after an EU member state vote on the current draft of the FQD was postponed, giving the Canadian government another six weeks to try to convince European oil sympathisers that tar sands should not be given a separate value in the directive. 
Emily Coats, also from the UK Tar Sands Network, said, “A sensible way of reining in one of the world’s dirtiest industries is being scuppered by the interests of the oil industry and Canadian government. Just last week, Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, severely tarnishing the government’s climate credentials. The Canadian government really isn’t where the UK should be turning for advice.”
Dallas’s trip is also focusing on “growing Alberta’s presence” in the European energy market.  Last week the minister participated in the World Trade Organization (WTO) policy meetings to discuss the “Doha Round” of negotiations, and today will meet the Deputy High Commissioner of Canada to discuss efforts to ‘promote Alberta in the UK’. 
“People are fed up by the ridiculous greenwash being spouted by these ministers,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller, Tar Sands campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network. “The suggestion that tar sands could be considered ‘responsible energy production’  is ludicrous. Tar sands exploitation is harming First Nations and local communities and accelerating us towards irreversible climate change. The UK government should be supporting the FQD and phasing out tar sands financing, not developing radical new trade avenues with Alberta.” 
Contact UK Tar Sands Network for further comments
 Organisations include: UK Tar Sands Network, Council of Canadians, The Indigenous Environmental Network and People and Planet.
 The FQD will reduce the EU’s emissions from transport by 6% by 2020 by assigning an average value of greenhouse gas intensity to each fuel type. The FQD in its current form, based on independent science and officially approved by the EU Commission, assigns tar sands with a higher average greenhouse gas value than conventional crude. It assigns even higher values to fuels such as oil shale and coal-to-liquid.
 See www.no-tar-sands.org/what-are-the-tar-sands
 This trip marks a long line of visits to the UK designed to label the legislation as ‘discriminatory’ and ‘unscientific’.http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/16/us-tarsands-idUSTRE7BF1DG20111216 Most recently, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was sent to LSE to give a public lecture pushing the future of tar sands and speaking out against the Fuel Quality Directive. See www.vancouversun.com/business/Minister+challenged+British+students+during+oilsands+tour/5581538/story.html See also http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2011/FOEE_Report_Tar_Sands_Lobby_Final_July82011.pdf for more examples of lobbying.
 In recent months the UK opened a trade office in Alberta and the UK Prime Minister David Cameron travelled to Canada to meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper in September. See http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/keep-alberta-oil-off-your-hands-environmentalists-warn-british-pm/article2175933/
 “Dallas will also meet with the Deputy High Commissioner of Canada and the Alberta United Kingdom Office to discuss Alberta’s commitment to responsible energy production.” See http://www.alberta.ca//acn/201112/316601EC50941-9E6B-F2AA-8492049FEBA1EECC.html
 The UK government’s position is currently aligned with Canada’s, with Norman Baker coming under fire from local, national, and international protesters to change his position. See https://www.no-tar-sands.org/2011/11/baker-targeted-by-constituents-for-blocking-climate-action/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30th, 2011
London – On the eve of the 17th COP of the UNFCCC, the world’s climate summit, the UK Tar Sands Network will serve papers to Shell UK executives on behalf of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN). ACFN plans to sue Shell for failure to meet contractual agreements made between Shell and the First Nations regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory and Canada’s pristine Athabasca, a UNESCO heritage site. Later today, Chief Allan Adam along with the entire council of ACFN will rally outside Shell Canada corporate headquarters in downtown Calgary and hold a press conference.
After years of agreements with Shell Oil, the Athabasca Chipewyan people have decided to risk everything by challenging Shell’s practices and filing suit. “We’re drawing the line, and taking a strong stand against Shell. ACFN wants no further developments until Shell is brought to justice and our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts in the region are addressed,” stated Chief Adam.
The agreements in question were meant to ensure Shell would provide a number of measures to lessen the impact of tar sands mines on ACFN. In addition to the lawsuit against Shell, ACFN also plans to oppose all future tar sands projects by Shell. “Tar sands have been widely recognized as the most destructive project on earth because of the serious impacts on treaty and aboriginal rights, ecological destruction and global green house gas emissions (GHG),” commented Suzanne Dhaliwal from the UK Tar Sands Network. “Shell is one of the largest players in the tar sands producing close to 20% of overall production and it needs to be held accountable for the mass destruction it is causing to communities and the environment.”
Shell Canada recently submitted proposals to expand its current tar sands operations which, if approved, would more then double its production. This would translate into further encroachment of open pit mines on ACFN traditional lands, and into the pristine wilderness of the Pierre River, a previously untouched area. Councilor Anthony Ladouceur of ACFN said, “Shell has failed to meet past commitments and governments have done nothing to mitigate the issue. Current government monitoring is inadequate, and Shell cannot be trusted to monitor itself.”
ACFN is rightfully concerned these projects will further impact the First Nations’ ability to exercise treaty rights in a meaningful way into the future. “We don’t want our community to become the next Niger Delta where Shell’s unregulated actions have left communities devastated and resulted in the need for a 30-year clean-up estimated to cost $1 billion USD,” stated Eriel Deranger, member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “The fate of our communities and our river is at stake and we are in the crosshairs of Shell’s plans to aggressively expand tar sands in our traditional territory. We ask the public to support ACFN’s efforts to stop Shell from permanently destroying our lands and community,” stated Chief Adam in his closing remarks.
Solidarity actions against Shell Oil were also held in Durban South Africa at the UNFCCC climate negotiations. Shell is internationally renowned for human rights abuses and the ACFN suit adds weight to the plight of many groups already challenging the corporation. ACFN and the Indigenous Environmental Network plan to co‐release a release a report next week outlining Shell’s broken promises and history in the tar sands.
An international coalition of Indigenous and environmental groups, including Keepers of the Athabasca, Greenpeace, Indigenous Environmental Network, Sierra Club Prairie, Pembina, Council of Canadians, International Indigenous Treaty Council, AFN Regional Office (NWT), Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Dene Nation, Platform, London Mining Network, UK Tar Sands Network, People & Planet, Rising Tide and Shell to Sea endorsed today’s action echoing the call on Shell Oil Canada and Shell Oil International to halt any further tar sands extraction in the Athabasca region until proper environmental safeguards are put into place in accordance with the treaties between Canada and First Nations governments.
Eriel Deranger (Canada) – 001 780-903-6598
Suzanne Dhaliwal (UK) – 07772694327
Notes for editors
 The report will be available for download on the UK Tar Sands Network website.
‘Tar Monster’ roams Lewes as protesters urge Baker to support EU Fuel Quality Directive
Friday 25th November – For immediate release
On Saturday 26th November, a giant Tar Monster, produced by Friends of the Earth, the UK Tar Sands Network and South Coast Climate Camp, roamed the streets of Lewes. The monster highlighted the role of local MP Norman Baker in opposing action to cut the use of tar sands oil, the world’s most polluting transport fuel .
“We are aware that the Canadian tar sands industry is an ecological monster . Fuel derived from tar sands comes at a very high price to the environment, to communities that live near extraction, and to the global climate,” said Lewes constituent Mark Mansbridge. “Gladly, the EU has moved towards labelling tar sands as more polluting than conventional oil . You think this would be a welcome move for Baker, a self-styled environmentalist, however we are instead seeing him align with the Canadian government to derail the EU legislation.”
The Canadian government has been engaged in a mammoth lobbying offensive  against the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) for over two years, and has now openly vowed war  on the legislation, claiming that it threatens future export markets for global unconventional oil, and unfairly discriminates against the tar sands. In recent months, as the decision now goes to EU member states, the UK government has escalated its support of the Canadian position, going so far as to lobby other EU states to reject the inclusion of tar sands in the FQD . As minister responsible for the UK position , Norman Baker has been the focus of intensive campaigning on this issue by NGOs and climate campaigners for recent months .
“A coalition of international NGOs, community groups and climate campaigners have been urging Baker to stop blocking the inclusion of a higher tar sands value,” commented UK Tar Sands Network campaigner Suzanne Dhaliwal. “Baker insists he is trying to help the environment , arguing that the proposed legislation singles out tar sands and should be delayed until more data is available about other fuel sources. But this is a bogus argument, inherited from the Canadian government. The Commission’s current proposal has already given values to other unconventional fuel sources, and contains a clause to include more fuel types as the science becomes available. Baker needs to realise that there is no time to delay – this legislation needs to come into effect as soon as possible.”
Now the pressure to stop caving in to the interests of the Canadian tar sands industry is coming closer to home. Earlier this week the local Lush store-front displayed an image of Norman Baker dripping in tar sands oil . “Norman Baker was right behind setting up Transition Town Lewes and supporting climate activists.” said Mansbridge. “We have felt betrayed by Norman’s position on the Fuel Quality Directive. If he continues to call for tar sands to not be labelled as highly polluting he will be putting the interests of the Canadian tar sands industry and corporations ahead of his constituents, who want affirmative action on climate change.”
Lewes’ Green Party has expressed concern that Norman Baker is trying to prevent the implementation of the transport legislation given his previous commitment to the environment . “We need our government to be taking decisive action to reduce emissions from fuels. The Fuel Quality Directive will move industry towards a green economy to provide us with jobs we can be proud of and renewable energy for future generations,” said councillor Susan Murray. “Tar sands are a highly polluting source of carbon-based fuel and if production is encouraged by unimpeded access to European markets then the fight against irreversible climate change is as good as lost .”
Photos up here – High res images available upon request
Notes for editors:
 Minister for Transport, Norman Baker, stated the UK government will oppose an inclusion of a tar sands value. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/04/oil-sands-imports-eu-ban?newsfeed=true
 See www.no-tar-sands.org/what-are-the-tar-sands
 The Fuel Quality Directive aims to cut carbon emissions from transport by 6% by 2020. The directive includes values for a range of transport fuels including shale oil. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/04/eu-tarsands-idUSL5E7L41ST20111004
 See ‘Canada’s dirty lobby diary – Undermining the EU Fuel Quality Directive’ released by Friends of the Earth Europe http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2011/FOEE_Report_Tar_Sands_Lobby_Final_July82011.pdf
 The Minister has vowed to fight the EUs’ recent decision http://www.canada.com/business/Oliver+vows+fight+smacks+oilsands+with+pollution+penalty/5501777/story.html
 Norman Baker is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Transport.
 e.g. from the Co-operative Bank http://www.co-operative.coop/toxicfuels
 https://phoenix.lush.co.uk/content/view/2855 Norman Baker, MP: TARNISHED- Blowing his chance to keep dirty tar sands oil out of Europe
 In opposition, Norman Baker sponsored a Parliamentary Early Day Motion stating that tar sands cause “deforestation and pollution which threatens the lives and livelihoods of indigenous communities” and “that the continued expansion of tar sands extraction is incompatible with the emissions reductions needed to avoid catastrophic climate change” – see http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/1055
 NASA Scientist James Hansen has said that irreversible climate change is inevitable if all the oil in Canada’s tar sands is burned http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/feb/17/barack-obama-canada-climate-change
Sunday 6th November – For immediate release
Activists outside the US Embassy in London surrounded a model of the White House to protest against the proposed US Keystone XL pipeline. Holding banners that read “Obama NO!” and “Tar sands is blood oil”, the action corresponded with 6000 people in Washington DC surrounding the White House to urge Obama to reject the proposed 1600-mile pipeline that would take tar sands oil from Alberta to the US Gulf Coast. 
“The Keystone XL pipeline would entrench our reliance on a particularly dirty fossil fuel which is devastating communities,” said UK Tar Sands Network campaigner Suzanne Dhaliwal. “As we speak, First Nations in Alberta are having their way of life destroyed, with forests being clear cut, animals poisoned, and rare cancers now rife in the community. We cannot afford to further expand the tar sands – they are a climate disaster, with the potential to increase the atmospheric carbon concentration by 200 ppm.” 
The Keystone XL pipeline has faced a raft of opposition in the US from a variety of fronts, with climate activists, farmers, First Nations and even the government of Nebraska, all coming together to persuade Obama to reject the pipeline.  In August and September, a series of protests outside the White House resulted in 1,253 arrests and has seen the issue flooding the media. 
The likely environmental impacts of the pipeline have been vastly downplayed. The US Environmental Protection Agency notes that the project could yield an extra 1.15 billion tons of GHGs, but this has been ignored by the US State Department’s own Environmental Impact Statement. Transcanada’s other pipelines have been leaking on average at one spill per month. A rupture in the Keystone XL pipeline could cause a BP-style oil spill – devastating the entire area, and contaminating the source of fresh drinking water for 2 million people. 
Dhaliwal continued, “We are standing in solidarity today with the Lakota Nations in the US who oppose this pipe going through pristine water sources.  President Obama recently signed onto the UN Declaration of Rights for Indigenous People’s. He cannot uphold that commitment by approving this pipeline.”
The US pipeline decision comes at a time when the EU is also considering the future of tar sands. The proposed Fuel Quality Directive , which would strongly discourage tar sands from entering the EU, has been repeatedly stalled by the UK government, largely as a result of incessant Canadian lobbying. 
Emily Coats, also from UK Tar Sands Network, commented, “We are particularly concerned about the Keystone XL pipeline here in the UK, because US companies are already expressing their desires to use the pipeline to bring tar sands oil to Europe.  Given the UK government’s reluctance to embrace legislation that would prevent that, it is even more important that the pipeline does not get built, so we can stop the flow of this dirty oil at its source.”
For interviews and high resolution photos, please contact Suzanne Dhaliwal on +44 7807 095 669
Notes for editors:
 One year from the next election, US activists return to DC to try to encircle the White House to ask President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The action begins at 2 pm in Lafayette Park. http://www.tarsandsaction.org/
 The decision of whether to approve the pipeline technically lies with the US State Department, but Obama has the opportunity to intervene if he wishes. Recent news has indicated that Obama intends to step in and take responsibility for the decision. See http://www.tarsandsaction.org/turning-point-president-obama-comments-keystone-xl/
 The Fort Laramie Treaties, guaranteed by the US Constitution, secure the lands of the Lakota Nation for the Lakota People. The tar sands Keystone XL oil pipeline would pass through these lands while crossing the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world’s largest, which supplies fresh water to the surrounding reservations as well as eight US states. http://www.truth-out.org/lakota-tribes-refuse-cooperate-tar-sands-proponents/1320241082
 The Fuel Quality Directive aims to reduce the EU’s transport emissions by 6% by 2020, by distinguishing certain fuels with an average value of carbon-intensity. The EU Commission has approved a currently proposal that would give carbon values to a number of unconventional fuels, including tar sands, oil shale, and coal-to-liquid. Member states will vote on the proposal in December.
 The Canadian government has been lobbying the EU and especially the UK for a number of years, to reject the legislation as ‘discriminatory’ and ‘unscientific’. Most recently, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was sent to LSE to give a public lecture pushing the future of tar sands and speaking out against the Fuel Quality Directive. See www.vancouversun.com/business/Minister+challenged+British+students+during+oilsands+tour/5581538/story.html See also http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2011/FOEE_Report_Tar_Sands_Lobby_Final_July82011.pdf for more examples of lobbying.
 US refining company Valero has told its shareholders it intends to use Keystone to export tar sands oil to markets including the UK. See www.no-tar-sands.org/2011/09/tar-sands-on-fast-track-to-the-uk/ for details.
London, October 20th 2011 – Joe Oliver, Natural Resources Minister, met with staunch opposition at the London School of Economics (LSE) whilst promoting Canada as the next ‘Global Energy Superpower’ . Protesters presented an alternative perspective to the one-sided lecture by asking difficult questions throughout.
LSE students and activists presented Joe Oliver with the ‘Greenwash Propagandist of the Year Award’ for his efforts to contort the science, dismiss the human consequences of tar sands extraction and to re-brand the world’s most destructive project as secure, reliable and sustainable.
“This lecture today was an inappropriate attempt to use an educational venue to promote the Canadian Tar Sands industry,” commented People and Planet ‘Tar Sands Free Universities’  Campaigner Liam Barrington-Bush. “Canadians should know that their ministers are embarking on an ongoing mission to undermine peer-reviewed science and efforts of European climate legislators by greenwashing the reality of tar sands extraction.”
Before departing on his mission to London, Oliver vowed war on the EU’s plans to curb emissions from tar sands. . Canada has justified its extensive EU lobbying by accusing the EU of singling out tar sands extraction unfairly by labeling tar sands as more polluting than conventional oil .
“Canadian Tar sands are not getting attention in the EU because we want to discriminate against them or sabotage the Canadian economy,” said UK Tar Sands Network campaigner Suzanne Dhaliwal. “Canada is receiving this attention because of the unprecedented attempts to undermine democratic climate legislation, and the gravity of the environmental destruction and human rights violations taking place in Canada.”
Protesters also held a banner outside, which read “Tar Sands is Blood Oil” in response to Oliver’s recent televised claim that tar sands development was in an area uninhabited by First Nations communities . “The environmental justice movement which has galvanized around tar sands issues over the past two years has worked to support First Nations fighting for health and environmental impact assessments and the respect of their inherent treaty rights ,” said Barrington-Bush. “This does not fit with the image of a ‘Friendly Green Oil Giant’ that Oliver has tried to present Canada as today.”
The impending European legislation to curb the growth of the tar sands industry has put the Canadian government on a PR offensive. Lobbying missions once reserved for parliament see ministers now desperately turning to universities to change the minds of the public.
“Fortunately, previous Canadian lobbying attempts to remove tar sands from the Fuel Quality Directive were challenged by the EU parliament and NGOs committed to reducing transport emissions,” commented Dhaliwal. “Now Canada is calling on corporations BP, Shell and Statoil and the UK government to stop the transport legislation from going ahead . As we saw last week at Gordon Campbell’s Energy Roundtable in St James Palace, public opposition in Europe to such undemocratic behavior is growing stronger .”
For media interviews, photos and video contact +44 7807 095 669
 “Canada: a reliable, responsible contributor to global energy security and economic stability” http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2011/20111020t1300vHKT.aspx
 People and Planet recently launched a Tar Sands Free Universities campaign after students visited the Beaver Lake Cree communities http://peopleandplanet.org/tarsands
 http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFN1E79H15S20111018Other unconventional fuels targeted by the legislation include coal converted to liquid and oil from shale rock.http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/04/oil-sands-imports-eu-ban
 “That (oil sands) land, which only represents one-thousandth of our boreal forest, is uninhabitable… uh… by human beings. So, you know, no community is being disrupted.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/inside-politics-blog/2011/09/the-uninhabitability-of-the-oil-sands-forests.html