**With a few days to go before the council vote, now is the time to sign the petition, and share it on Facebook and Twitter**
This Monday, June 24th, the Oxford City Council will vote on a motion submitted by Green Party councillor Sam Hollick called ‘Tar-Free Oxford’. This motion will see Oxford declaring itself a ‘Tar-Free Town’, and rejecting the use of tar sands oil by adjusting the policies governing the procurement of fuel to the Council.
The Canadian tar sands have been called ‘game over for the climate’ by top climate scientist James Hansen, due to the vast potential reserves of this unconventional fuel, and its carbon-intensive extraction process. Locally, new extraction projects are being opposed by First Nations suffering their ill-effects, such as the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Beaver Lake Cree. There are strong opposition movements to opening up the tar sands to new markets via pipelines such as the Keystone XL in the States and the Enbridge Northern Gateway in British Columbia. For peer-reviewed facts and figures on the true impact of the tar sands, see tarsandsrealitycheck.com.
With the large-scale imports of tar sands oil into the UK and Europe possibly imminent, the time is ripe for local communities to actively reject this dirty form of energy. These communities will join a growing list of American cities and towns – mainly in the US states of Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts (see full list here) – which have declared themselves to be ‘Tar-Free’, rejecting tar sands oil from their communities. Two of these have also specifically adopted resolutions which deal with bans on purchasing tar sands fuel. These cities (Burlington, Vermont and Bellingham, Washington) join a growing list of major US companies who have also vowed to stop using tar sands oil in their vehicle fleet.
Ruthi Brandt of Tar-Free Oxford and UK Tar Sands Network said: “This is very exciting, since if the motion passes, Oxford will be the first city in the UK, and possibly in the whole of Europe, to have rejected this dirty oil from the tar sands. The Tar-Free Oxford group has received a lot of support from people in the city, and I am proud to be part of such a forward-thinking community.”
Miranda Shaw of Tar-Free Oxford said: “We are very proud to be part of a global movement fighting to keep the tar sands in the ground. Europe doesn’t want this extreme energy source, which is responsible for so much destruction, and I hope that our beloved Oxford will lead the way to a more sustainable future”.