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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Market at Work: Walgreens, Other Big Biz Shun Tar Sands Oil

With TransCanada piping Alberta tar sands oil across our fair prairie (and pushing to pump more), you might be inclined to take some economic action to help save Canada from its very dirty export. But the average citizen can't boycott TransCanada or Enbridge or any other shipper of tar sands oil. Our main point of contact with the oil industry is the gas station. TransCanada and Enbridge don't have gas stations (at least none I've seen). The One Stop here in Madison may get a truckload of gasoline refined from tar sands oil one week, from BP's recovered Gulf spillage the next, and some nice clean oil from Chavez or the Saudi sheiks the week after that. Boycott the local gas station to oppose duckocide in Alberta, and you're likely missing your target completely.

But if you're a company dealing directly with oil shippers, you've got some real leverage to use against the dirtiest oil in the world. Enviro-group ForestEthics gets this. They're urging corporations to boycott shippers who carry tar sands oil. And they're getting some takers. Walgreens, which burns a lot of gas hauling toothpaste and such to its 7500 stores, has signed on to this boycott. The Gap, Timberland, and Levi Strauss also are giving preference to non-tar-sands shippers. The City of Bellingham, Washington, has also joined the movement.

Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource. It will run out. The Keystone pipeline will go dry. Wouldn't it be great if we could hasten that dry-up with some good old-fashioned market forces?

Good call, Walgreens! Let's hope more American companies wise up and tell TransCanada we neither want nor need their tar sands oil.


  1. Idaho seizes the opportunity to slow shipments of heavy equipment to tar sands operations.

  2. Larry, that's great! Might business and the judiciary be waking up to the destructive nature of the tar sands?


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