Chiquita Agrees to Avoid Fuel From Tar Sands Refineries
US Market Trend Against Tar Sands Continues
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Chiquita Brands International will work with ForestEthics to eliminate shipping of Chiquita bananas with fuel from refineries that use Canada’s controversial Tar Sands. Chiquita joins a market trend against Tar Sands that now includes 15 publicly confirmed actions by major US companies.
“Canada’s Tar Sands is all risk and no benefit for leading American brands like Chiquita that are resolved to reduce environmental problems, so they are working hard to get Tar Sands out of their transportation footprint,” said Aaron Sanger of ForestEthics.
New policies like Chiquita’s lead to further action by the trucking companies and fuel providers that major brands use to get their products to market. At Chiquita’s recent annual conference with trucking companies, CEO Fernando Aguirre announced the company’s new process to ensure that fuel from Tar Sands refineries is not being used for ground transportation of Chiquita products.
“Chiquita is joining other companies, cities, farmers, workers and many others in drawing the line at Tar Sands,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It shows that new Tar Sands pipelines such as Keystone XL are not needed in America.”
ForestEthics, which works on the Tar Sands problem through Canadian and US offices, has identified nearly 50 US refineries that already use synthetic oil from Tar Sands to make trucking fuel. The purpose of pipelines such as the proposed Keystone XL is to supply US refineries with more Tar Sands.
“Tar sands crude is the dirtiest oil on Earth,” said Kate Colarulli of The Sierra Club. “The public and a growing number of companies have seen through Big Oil’s lies. Together we are drawing the line and standing firm against this dangerous and destructive oil.”
Chiquita accounts for roughly one quarter of the United States’ banana market, and the millions of bananas it sells every day arrive at stores in diesel fueled and refrigerated heavy-duty vehicles. Chiquita’s action to reduce the use of controversial fuels like those from Tar Sands is similar to that taken by almost two-dozen major companies, 15 of which have confirmed their action publicly.
Canada’s Tar Sands is produced by one of the most energy-intensive–and greenhouse gas spewing–extraction processes in history. The health effects of Tar Sands are already evident in Alberta where downwind and downstream communities have elevated levels of cancer. Canada’s Globe & Mail has reported that pollution risks at refineries using Tar Sands are greater because Tar Sands material is dirtier and more corrosive. The uniquely toxic and more intense pollution from increased US refinery processing of Tar Sands would disproportionately threaten the health of the largely poor and minority communities living near these refineries.