Premier Ed Stelmach is defending the environmental improvements to the oil sands after Bellingham, Wash., became the first municipality to officially take action against them.

On Monday night, Bellingham’s city council unanimously passed a resolution to eliminate tar sands fuel in their fleet of city vehicles.

“[We’re] improving every day on how to develop those resources,” said Stelmach,
“I know we have a lot more work to do there, but we’ll continue to do that.”

Bellingham cited the carbon and other environmental impacts from the tar sands, including “permanent damage to Canada’s ... ecosystems, destruction of scarce freshwater and generation of toxic waste.”

“It’s time for our governments to drop PR campaigns and face the growing market concerns” said Nikki Skuce, a spokesperson for environmental group ForestEthics.

with files from katie turner