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Alberta Lobbies for Its Tar Baby
The Canadian province of Alberta, which promotes the development of its tar sands oil, "has hired a team of consultants to improve [its] image in Washington ahead of climate-change talks." The lobbyists, who Alberta is paying $40,000 a month, include former Michigan governor James Blanchard and former U.S. ambassador and Canadian diplomat Paul Fraser. "We can't rely on anyone else to tell our story," explained Alberta's premier. Alberta is concerned about U.S. president Barack Obama's "Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate," to be held in Washington, DC on April 27 and 28, and about COP15, the United Nations' next major climate change meeting, in Denmark in December 2009. Extracting oil from the tar sands emits significantly more greenhouse gases and pollutes more water than traditional oil development. National Geographic recently covered the tar sands in an in-depth article and photo essay described by one Canadian commentator as "public relations hell" for Alberta.