Largest Donor To Prop 23 Has Ties To Alberta Tar Sands

By now if you know anything about California’s ballot initiative Proposition 23 then you are familiar with the Texas oil company Valero. Besides being the largest donor to the pro-Proposition 23 campaign, Valero has ties to the tar sands in Alberta, BC, Canada. The Texas oil company owns several Alberta area refineries. Bill Day, Valero spokesperson, calls Canada “a tremendous potential supplier for us.”

Tar sands are a mixture of sand, clay and bitumen (a heavy crude). According to Greenpeace, in order to get oil flowing from out of the tar sands, “trees are cut down, the surface layer is strip-mined, and the underlying mixture is heated with steam in order to make it flow.” The bitumen is processed and refined to become synthetic crude oil.

The largest accessible tar sands are in Alberta. “Most of the oil produced by the tar sands goes to the United States,” Greenpeace states on its website. Every year 29.5 megatons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are emitted from the Alberta tar sands, which is equivalent to over five million cars on the road. The amount of annual GHG emissions from the tar sands is 12 percent of Alberta’s total GHG emissions, almost five percent of Canada’s emissions, and 0.1 percent of the world’s total emissions.

Valero has a Port Arthur, Texas refinery. Why is that an important fact? TransCanada’s $12 billion Keystone Pipeline Project would link the Alberta tar sands to Texas oil refineries. It will be a 1,661 mile long 36-inch crude oil pipeline beginning in Hardisty, Alberta and ending in Nederland, Texas.

TransCanada says the Keystone Pipeline Project “will play an important role in linking a secure and growing supply of Canadian crude oil with the largest refining markets in the United States, significantly improving North American security supply.”

Day says of the Project, “This strengthens U.S.-based refining.” Day adds, “It gives us a dedicated source of crude oil from a close neighbor and excellent trading partner.”

The website reports that Valero already committed to buying the tar sands crude that the Project would carry to Texas. Valero says on its website that it is the largest oil refinery in North America. Should anyone really be surprised that Valero has ties to the Keystone Pipeline Project?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

4 responses

  1. PROP 26 is just as destructive as PROP 23. Prop 26 is a treacherous, Big Oil rip-off, which “passes the buck” from oil corporation, clean-up fees to the taxpayer, who will pay the oil recycling fees, the materials hazards fees and other fees. If you do not understand the ambiguities and the intrigues behind Prop 26, then, vote no. Power to the people. BP, Shell and Exxon Mobil are silent partners behind Prop 26.

  2. How about Californians start buying all their petroleum products from overseas and the rest of us in fly over country will buy ours from domestic and Canadian suppliers. When your gasoline and electricity costs skyrocket out of sight, then deal with own your own supply problems. You guys are famous for not wanting anything like power generation or refining in your backyard. Not only is global warming a hoax, but so is common sense and intellectual honesty with liberals.

    1. You didn’t seriously just use the term “fly over country” did you? Do you have any idea how insulting that is? I live in Michigan and am sick and tired of that kind of snobbery… then again, if you’re dumb enough to think that global warming is a hoax, then I can’t expect much from you!

  3.  The people strip mining and extracting Tar sands from the earth are greedy and quite frankly insane. At what point does damage to the environment and the atmosphere become criminal? If someone lit up 10,000 cigarettes in your child’s nursury, would that be ok with you? What is being done is essentially that, only far worse!

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