Director James Cameron Speaks Out on Tar Sands Oil

“Avatar” Director James Cameron criticized plans to expand Canada’s tar sands oil development, which has been called the most destructive project on Earth. 

Cameron spent several days this week touring tar sands developments in Alberta and meeting with both tar sands advocates from the oil industry and opponents of the project, including indigenous communities who say their health is under threat as a result of the toxic oil. 

Cameron stated: 

“It is clear that a healthy future for all of us hinges on moving off oil as quickly as possible.Given the significant negative impact of the Alberta tar sands on the environment and First Nations communities, the last thing President Obama should be approving is yet another pipeline to pump this muck into the United States. Rather than allow TransCanada to build their Keystone XL pipeline across six states, Obama should support investments that move us aggressively towards a new energy future.”

Cameron, a Canadian, produced the movie “Avatar,” a science-fiction film about the destruction of indigenous people by industry fixated on profiting from a fictional energy source called “unobtanium.” The plot of the film closely resembles the true story of what is happening to indigenous and American communities as a result of Canada’s tar sands oil development. Fifty-five international groups signed an ad in Variety earlier this year tying the tar sands issue to the film. 

“James Cameron’s film ‘Avatar’ touched millions of people with its message about destruction of communities in the reckless pursuit of profit. Sadly, we are watching a real-life ‘Avatar’ story play out as the oil industry pushes forward with tar sands oil, a project that leaves sickness, pollution and devastation in its wake,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. “America still has a chance to stop the tar sands from expanding. The Obama administration needs to say no to the Keystone XL pipeline. This project would pipe the world’s dirtiest oil right into American communities, threatening our water, air, and health.” 

Tar sands oil is the dirtiest oil on earth. It requires clearcutting ancient forest, digging up the dirt beneath it, and using massive amounts of water and energy to extract oil. The process leaves behind giant toxic lakes and has been linked to cancer in nearby communities. The Keystone XL pipeline would carry tar sands oil across major sources of drinking water and farmland in the United States.

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