A coalition of environmental groups is calling for a moratorium on petroleum development of the tar sands in the Canadian province of Alberta. The region, which borders Canada's verdant boreal forest, contains the largest source of crude oil outside of the Middle East, but accessing it has proven not only expensive but destructive to wildlife habitat.
The groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Boreal Songbirds Initiative and the Pembina Institute, collaborated on a study that found that further development in the region could kill as many as 166 million birds over the next 50 years as a result of development-related habitat and wetlands loss and the toxic poisoning of food sources, among other environmental ills.
"People need to take a hard look at whether this can be mitigated or if tar sands development is just incompatible with conservation of bird habitat," NRDC's Susan Casey-Lefkowitz told reporters. "The loss of as many as 166 million birds is a wholly unacceptable price to pay for America's addiction to oil."