Activists Block Oil Sands Mine In Alberta
Greenpeace activists have shut down a 155,000 barrel a day operation in Shell's Albian Sands mine just north of Fort McMurray, which is located in northern Alberta, Canada. The 25 activists from Canada, the U.S. and France are trying to attract attention to the environmental impact of mining the oil sands, and send a message to the governments of Canada and the United States just a day before the leaders of the two countries, Stephen Harper and Barack Obama, are scheduled to meet.
The Greenpeace activists entered the mine on the morning of September 16th, chained together pick-up trucks to shut down work, then chained themselves to the trucks. Shell, which owns 60% of the mine, shut down operations.
Canada's oil sands, also known as tar sands, produce 173 billion barrels of oil each year - the largest oil source outside the Middle East. The oil sands supply the United States with 20% of their crude oil. They comprise of crude bitumen, a form of petroleum, which needs to be heated to flow. Bitumen contains toxic substances, such as arsenic and mercury. Canada has been widely criticized by environmental organizations over its oil sands policies, as the mining has major impact on the enviroment - such as deforestation, water use, and release of greenhouse gases.
Greenpeace is streaming live video of the operation.
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.”