Oil group calls for Chiquita banana boycott

(Photo: Ethicaloil. org)

The debate over the Canadian oil sands is going bananas.

Ethicaloil.org, a group who advocates for oil sands, has called for Canadians to boycott Chiquita bananas and Fresh Express Salads after the produce company said it would no longer use fuel made from the controversial Alberta tar sands.

“As Canadians, we’re not going to take this lying down,” Kathryn Marshall, the group’s spokeswoman, told The Calgary Herald. “This is a serious insult to one of our most important industries.”

The group launched a 30-second radio advertisement and a website, attacking the company’s boycott of fuel made from the Canadian oil sands. The group also says that banana company has no room to talk.

“Apparently, they like oil from OPEC dictatorships better,” the radio spot says. “That’s rich from Chiquita, a company with a history of human rights abuses, who was just fined millions of dollars for supporting terrorist groups in South America.”

To listen to the ad, click here.

The pro-oil sands group says Chiquita’s boycott will cause the company to rely on “conflict oil from some of the world’s most dubious regimes – countries with serious human rights issues like Iran, Saudia Arabia and Venezuela.”

Canadian oil sands have been a controversial topic as President Barack Obama and Congress wage a fierce debate over the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline.

Environmentalists say the pipeline would expand the marketplace for oil sands crude that produces more greenhouse gas emissions from production to combustion than alternatives because of the energy-intensive techniques used to harvest it. Companies typically extract the tar-like hydrocarbon bitumen from Canada’s oil sands by open-pit mining and in-situ techniques involving underground injections of steam that liquefy the otherwise hard fossil fuel.

Environmentalists also complain about pollution from the oil sands extraction process and warn about the risks of spills along the pipeline route.

Supporters of the pipeline say it will ease America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Houston Chronicle reporter Jennifer Dlouhy contributed to this report.

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