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Senator rejects oil sands 'dirty oil' tag

  |   Sept. 18, 2010 at 4:10 PM
EDMONTON, Alberta, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A U.S. senator rejected environmentalists' claims oil from Canadian oil sands is "dirty oil," saying that label describes some oil sources in the Middle East.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., made the remark Friday while visiting some of the oil sands operations in northern Alberta, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported.

"That's one of the myths being perpetrated," Graham said of the "dirty oil" tag. "It's oil I feel very comfortable Americans consuming."

The oil is secure and comes from a reliable neighbor, he said, adding that much of the money the United States gives Canada to buy its oil comes back to America in trade.

"Dirty oil and dangerous oil come from rogue regimes in the Mideast. The oil coming from Alberta in my view is not only acceptably clean, it is safe," Graham told CBC News.

"Dirty to me would be oil that you buy from parts of the world where the people that sell it to you hate your guts and part of the money winds up in the hands of terrorists," he said.

U.S. environmentalists have been campaigning against Alberta's oil sands, running ads urging Americans to reconsider any vacation plans to the province.

Graham said he believes environmental concerns are being taken seriously but that he wants to hear both sides of the story.

"The main reason I'm here is to be able to say I've come to the oil sands. I've seen it myself. I've seen how small a footprint the mining is," he said.

"I'm seeing firsthand the place that provides America more oil than Saudi Arabia and Iran combined," Graham said. "I'm seeing reclaimed areas that used to be mined that looked pretty much like the natural landscape."

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