A press release issued from Washington DC today promotes an event scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 16, at which opponents of oil sands development will publicly confront Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper. While Harper unsuspectingly prepares to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss a number of issues, an international network of environmental groups is stepping up a multifaceted campaign to bring their own agenda to the fore. In explanation of the scheduled meeting, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said “The President looks forward to discussing a broad range of bilateral, hemispheric, and global issues.” The environmentalists, however, have a different plan. They want to address what they are calling the “expansion of dirty oil imports from Canada” and to send a message that tar sands oil threatens North America’s clean energy future. The premise is that Prime Minister Harper advocates expansion of the Alberta oil sands as well as special treatment of oil sands crude development. Opposition groups are accelerating their efforts to ensure that President Obama recognizes that plans for “dirty oil sands growth” - including 33 new refineries across the US, thousands of miles of pipeline, and even tanker traffic - would undercut his clean energy economy and lock into a dirty oil infrastructure for years to come. Evidently, the fact that the US imports approximately 2 MMbbl of oil each day from Canada is not a matter for consideration. Nor is the fact that the US has no substitute fuel available to replace the 2MMb/d of oil if it shuts off its Canadian supply. According to the press release, on Tuesday morning, a 70-ft banner was unveiled above Niagara Falls. The intent of the banner is to call attention to Harper’s efforts to lock up the US market for tar sands oil and to spotlight the threat tar sands holds for the climate. While others hang the banner, Greenpeace activists have locked down and blockaded a giant dump truck and shovel at Shell’s Albian Sands open-pit mine in northern Alberta to send the message that the tar sands are a global climate crime that must be stopped. An addendum to the release says that top military leaders believe Canada cannot achieve energy security by chasing down dirtier and dirtier fossil fuels that undermine climate security. To find out more about this view, click here.