Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

"Tar Sands Aren't Restricted by U.S. Law"

Bingaman Says Canadian Oil Sands Aren't Restricted by U.S. Law
By Tina Seeley

June 11 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. legislation prohibiting the federal government from buying alternative fuels that have higher greenhouse-gas emissions doesn't apply to Canadian oil sands, Senator Jeff Bingaman said.

``Producing fuel from oil sands is not a new technology,'' Bingaman said today at a meeting of the Canadian American Business Council in Washington. The New Mexico Democrat said he supports clarifying language that the House of Representatives has already approved.

Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson sent a Feb. 22 letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking that the restriction not apply to oil extracted from Canada's oil sands.

The provision, known as Section 526, was part of energy legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush last December. It bars the U.S. government from buying alternative fuels if the production creates more greenhouse gases than conventional fuels.

``Since Canadian feedstocks are co-mingled with U.S. feedstocks at oil refineries producing fuel, it's hard to see how Section 526 could be enforced against Canadian oil sands in any case,'' said Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Bingaman said he supports a fix like the clarification added to a defense measure by Representative Dan Boren, an Oklahoma Democrat. That language makes clear that the restriction would only apply if a specific contract limited the purchase to a certain type of non-conventional fuel.

That ``sounds like something we should be considering adopting as part of our own defense bill when that comes to the Senate floor later this month,'' said Bingaman.

``No oil sands producer in Canada to my knowledge is seeking that sort of exclusive deal with the U.S. government,'' he said. ``With the additional clarification adopted by the House of Representatives, I do not believe that Section 526 will be a barrier to oil imports from Canada.''

Last Updated: June 11, 2008 09:27 EDT


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