Catholic Church Opposes Dirty Oil Sands Development

03/01/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Bishop Luc Bouchard of St. Paul's Diocese, smack in the heart of Canadian oil-sands territory, has launched a broadside against oil sands development and their environmental implications. "The present pace and scale of development in the Athabasca oil sands cannot be morally justified," he wrote in a letter to parishoners last week.

The missive wasn't an attack on the oil-sands workers in Fort McMurray, he said, but everyone else seems fair game--from "oil company executives in Calgary and Houston, to government leaders in Edmonton and Ottawa, and to the general public whose excessive consumerist lifestyle drives the demand for oil." Bishop Bouchard said that Canada should not proceed with more oil-sands development unless it truly finds a way to minimize the environmental impact and takes steps to offset the projects' greater emissions of greenhouse gases.