No Tar Sands

Tar sands oil — even the name sounds bad.

And it is bad. In fact, oil from tar sands is one of the most destructive, carbon-intensive and toxic fuels on the planet. Producing it releases three times as much greenhouse gas pollution as conventional crude oil does. Tar sands oil comes from a solid mass that must be extracted via energy intensive steam injection or destructive strip mining, techniques that completely destroy ecosystems, put wildlife at risk, and defile large areas of land. Finally, when transported by pipeline or rail, it puts communities, wildlife and water supplies in danger of toxic spills that are nearly impossible to clean up.

As the pressure intensifies to produce more tar sands oil, including in the United States, the Center is stepping up to keep it in the ground.

In early 2014 we launched an aggressive, coordinated effort to stop reckless tar sands extraction both in the United States and Canada. Our efforts have targeted cross-border pipeline proposals like Keystone XL and Alberta Clipper, crude-by-rail expansions and burgeoning domestic tar sands projects.

Here's why: Dirty tar sands and other destructive fossil fuel projects pose a huge risk not only to people and wildlife but to the future of a livable planet.

Tar-sands development has already wreaked havoc on the environment and communities in Alberta, Canada — and companies are racing to expand the industry. In fact, it has become one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions in that country. And Canadian oil companies are now bringing their dirty business into the United States.

For more than six years, TransCanada has been trying to build the Keystone XL pipeline — which would transport 800,000 barrels per day from Canada across the American heartland to Texas, where it would most likely be exported. At the same time, TransCanada and other companies like Enbridge and Kinder Morgan are trying to build more pipelines to transport tar sands, and they've started using the dangerous practice of transporting oil by train.

Meanwhile, a Canadian oil company called U.S. Oil Sands is testing tar sands mining to extract the little-known tar sands deposits in eastern Utah, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is moving toward leasing public lands for tar sands development.

More tar sands development means not only deepening the climate crisis, but also putting air, water and wildlife ecosystems at the risk of industrial damage and deadly oil spills. We can't let that happen. That's why the Center is taking action now.

Our Campaigns


+ Keystone XL Pipeline


+ Alberta Clipper and Line 3 Pipelines


+ Crude by Rail


+ Domestic Tar Sands

No Tar Sands Banner by Center for Biological Diversity using photos courtesy Flickr Commons/Pembino Institute and Garth Lenz.