Chiquita rejects use of fuel
from Tar Sands refineries
Dec 16, 2011 9:38 AM
Chiquita Brands International will work with ForestEthics to eliminate shipping of 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.
At Chiquita’s recent annual conference with trucking companies, Fernando Aguirre, chief executive officer, 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 use synthetic oil from Tar Sands to make truck fuel. The purpose of pipelines such as the proposed Keystone XL is to supply US refineries with more Tar Sands.
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. The firm’s action to reduce the use of 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.
The health effects of Tar Sands are already evident in Alberta, Canada, 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 the material is dirtier and more corrosive.
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