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In Washington, DC last week, singer-song writer Neil Young had some scathing words to say about Alberta’s tar sands operations and the Keystone XL Pipeline that, if built, would transport raw bitumen from the tar sands to the US south.

Speaking of a recent trip to Canada, Young said, "When we got to Alberta, we headed north until we got to Fort McMurray, where all of the oil comes from, much of the oil that we’re using here, which they call ethical oil because it’s not from Saudi Arabia or some country that may be at war with us.

“The fact is, Fort McMurray looks like Hiroshima. Fort McMurray is a wasteland. The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. There’s fumes everywhere. You can smell it when you get to town. The closest place to Fort McMurray that is doing the tar sands work is 25 or 30 miles out of town and you can taste it when you get to Fort McMurray. People are sick. People are dying of cancer because of this. All the First Nations Peoples up there are threatened by this. Their food supply is wasted. Their treaties are no good. They have the right to live on the land like they always did, but there’s no land left that they can live on, all the animals are dying. This is truly a disaster.”

Young supports alternative fuels, such as ethanol. US President Barack Obama has yet to announce whether or not he will allow the pipeline to be built, but a go-ahead would mean an increase of tar sands production. Most First Nations see the pipeline as all risk and no reward.

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