The tar sands are rightly called one of the world’s greatest environmental crimes, as I’ve written. No company that invests in the Canadian tar sands can legitimately call itself green.

Yet BP, the oil company that lavished millions on advertising its move “Beyond Petroleum,” announced this month it’s putting $3 billion into this dirtiest of dirty fuels!


BP is buying a half-share of the ironically named Sunrise field:

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“BP’s move into oil sands is an opportunity to build a strategic, material position and the huge potential of Sunrise is the ideal entry point for BP into Canadian oil sands,” said Tony Hayward, BP’s group chief executive.

The company ultimately plans to produce 200,000 barrels of oil a day from the field.

Shame on you, BP!

Just how bad are the tar sands environmentally? As The Independent explains:

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The booming oil sands industry will produce 100 million tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to a fifth of the UK’s entire annual emissions) a year by 2012, ensuring that Canada will miss its emission targets under the Kyoto treaty …

The oil rush is also scarring a wilderness landscape: millions of tonnes of plant life and top soil is scooped away in vast open-pit mines and millions of litres of water are diverted from rivers — up to five barrels of water are needed to produce a single barrel of crude and the process requires huge amounts of natural gas.

What does BP have to say about the environment in its press release?

The result will be the development of a major new Canadian oil field and the modernization and expansion of the Toledo refinery to allow far greater use of Canadian heavy oil and to increase clean fuels production by as much as 600,000 gallons a day.

Clean fuels? Do they really think we are that ignorant and gullible?

Mike Hudema, the climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace in Canada, had a more accurate description:

By jumping into tar sands extraction it is taking part in the biggest global warming crime ever seen and BP’s green sheen is gone.

If the tar sands are “beyond petroleum,” then BP should just stick with good old petrol for the sake of the planet and stop its greenwashing ads.

This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.