Groups spar over Canadian oil sands

May 16, 2012 at 10:22 AM
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OTTAWA, May 16 (UPI) -- Industry advocates say "radical" environmentalists are blocking Canada's economic development, but oil sand critics say development comes with inherent risks.

Ethical Oil, a group advocating on behalf of the oil sands industry in Canada, said reversing an Enbridge oil pipeline so that it carries oil from Alberta eastward was a "no brainer," Canadian newspaper Globe & Mail reports.

Ethical Oil Executive Director Jamie Ellerton told the newspaper reversing the Southwestern Ontario pipeline meant a move away from the "tyrants" controlling the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"But it will still be opposed," he said. "It will face opposition from radical environmental groups."

Canada's National Energy Board has been weighing the reversal since 2008. Opposition lawmakers said oil sands were falsely inflating the value of the Canadian dollar while environmental groups complain the environmental risks associated with Alberta crude aren't worth the benefits.

"We don't need to pick dirty energy like tar sands, we can instead move towards renewable energy source," Gillian McEachern, deputy campaign director for advocacy group Environmental Defense, told the newspaper.

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