PRESS CONTACT: Matt Brown, ForestEthics Communications Director, email@example.com,
BELLINGHAM, WA – Communities living next to
tar sands refineries suffer from more intense sulfur dioxide pollution because
of the extremely high sulfur content of tar sands refinery feed stocks,
according to a new report by ForestEthics, an environmental organization.
Sulfur dioxide pollution is associated with a wide variety of human health
problems, including asthma and heart disease.
“The growing use of Canada’s tar sands by U.S. refineries is making survival
more difficult for some of the most disadvantaged communities in the United
States,” said Aaron Sanger, U.S. Campaigns Director at ForestEthics and author
of the report.
The U.S. currently imports 99 percent of Canada’s tar sands, a gooey blend of
bitumen and noxious chemicals found in northern Alberta. In addition to growing
health problems communities are facing from tar sands—both in the U.S. and
Canada—forests, rivers and air quality in Alberta are suffering because of the
extreme measures required to extract tar sands. The corrosive substance is sent
to the U.S. in pipelines, among other methods, which have been known to burst
and pollute the environment.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long known that health
impacts from refineries fall disproportionately on communities near refineries,
which are more likely than other communities to include people from
disadvantaged groups. African American and Latino communities living near
refineries have a higher cancer risk level than the general population,
according to several EPA studies.
“Dumping more tar sands pollution on communities already suffering unfairly
from our fossil fueled transportation system is monstrous,” Sanger said. “U.S.
companies have used their buying power against refinery use of tar sands; the
EPA should also use its legal power against this growing human health problem.”
To date, 16 companies and the City of Bellingham have publicly confirmed action
unfavorable to U.S. refineries that use tar sands.
the full report: Tar Sands Refineries: U.S. Communities at Risk.
the full report online: Tar Sands Refineries: U.S. Communities at Risk.