Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Colo. Grandmother tweaks energy giant

Colo. woman tweaks energy giant
Her website has prompted legal action from the Canadian company and increasing media attention.
By Andy Vuong
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 05/03/2007 11:00:24 PM MDT

A Lakewood woman has drawn the ire of a Canadian energy giant after creating a website that sheds an unfavorable light on the environmental impacts of the company's oil-sands production.

When Liz Moore, 85, toured Syncrude's plant in Alberta, Canada, last summer, she said she was appalled by the lack of land restoration after the company extracted oil from tar sands.

So she spent nine months and $3,600 to put together a website, www.oilsandsofcanada.com, featuring photos she took from the trip to draw attention to what she perceived as "environmental degradation."

The site launched in mid-April, and just days later, Moore received an e-mail from a Syncrude paralegal demanding that the photos be removed.

"I was astonished. Just astonished," Moore said of the request.

After being told that she signed a release prior to her tour that gave Syncrude the copyright to her photos, Moore agreed to remove nine of the 73 photos that were on her site.

"We see this as an issue of copyright, accuracy and quality," a company spokesman told the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper.

Though the company may have won the battle by having the photos removed, Moore may win the war because of the publicity the muzzling effort has generated.

Her site had just more than 200 hits before the Globe and Mail published its article Tuesday.

Since then, the site has had 2,100 hits, and Moore has received interview requests from numerous media outlets, including a country-rock radio station, she said.

"I want people to start thinking about it ... let people know what's happening," said Moore, who said she has been a renewable-energy advocate for 25 years.

She previously worked for the Solar Energy Research Institute, now known as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Staff writer Andy Vuong can be reached at avuong@denverpost.com.

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