A clause in the recently passed U.S. energy bill could be interpreted to prevent the U.S. from sourcing fuel from Canada’s oil sands, putting Canadian officials all in a tizzy. Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act prohibits the U.S. government from purchasing alternative fuels with higher lifecycle greenhouse-gas emissions than conventional petroleum. It’s a descriptor that seems to fit oil sands, which have traditionally been classified as an alternative fuel and can produce up to five times more carbon emissions than conventional oil production. But in response to Canada’s fears that the rule “could unnecessarily complicate the integrated Canada-U.S. energy relationship,” the U.S. government is considering reclassifying oil sands as conventional fuel. Because, really, enabling extra climate-destroying emissions is far preferable to pissing off the Canucks.

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