There's one environmental activist organization that has to get the prize for sheer ballsiness -- Rainforest Action Network. RAN pioneered the art of the "banner deployment" back in the WTO protesting days and it has used the technique effectively to gain attention by juxtaposing monumental messages against important environmental backdrops.

Today they took on a challenge of epic proportions at Niagra Falls when they hung a 7-story banner to protest the environmentally devastating practice of Tar Sands extraction.

The event coincides with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first visit to the White House where one of the primary topics of discussion will be Tar Sands Oil.

The location was chosen both because it is the best known border between Canada and the U.S. and because it symbolizes perhaps better than any other place in the world the importance of abundant, clean water.

Tar Sands requires both an extraordinary amount of energy and water to produce. To simplify it a bit, for every 5 gallon of tar sands oil produced, it requires 1 gallon of fossil fuel (natural gas) equivalent and 20 gallons of water. You can read more about it on my post Will Obama stop the Tar Sands devastation?

The Canadian Tar Sands operation is now the second leading cause of global warming pollution in the world and will divert 7 percent of Canada's fresh water supply. Currently the dumping of the toxic effluents and oil sludge is neither well regulated nor researched, so the consequent environmental impacts in Canada and the lower 48 could be enormous.

RAN is urging people to send a letter to President on the eve of his meeting with Harper to urge him to "say no" to dirty oil.

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