Lush Cosmetics Employees Stripping to Stop Canadian Oil Production

soap-tarsands.jpg
Artist's butchering
Left, soaps sold by Lush Cosmetics. Right, the Canadian tar sands. Only if a good scrubbing by one would clean the other.
While the Deep Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico continues to cough up oil underwater, a chain of organic soap shops is planning a separate protest this week against heavy crude oil mining in Canada.

Employees at Lush Cosmetics -- which operates 103 stores nationwide, including one in the St. Louis Galleria -- will apparently strip down to nothing but a barrel to protest the the stripping of bitumen deposits from the Canadian tar sands.

ConocoPhillips, which operates a large refinery in Wood River, Illinois, has the largest stake in the heavy crude project, and has built a pipeline from Canada to its Wood River refinery.

The refinery in Wood River has greatly expanded its operations to handle refining the heavy crude oil, which takes more work -- and as a press release from Lush points out, produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a barrel of conventional oil -- to break down to a usable form.

The total cost of the refinery expansion in the Metro East is more than $2 billion. That pipeline is is 2,148 miles long and it will move 590,000 barrels daily into the Madison County refinery. The company estimates the Wood River refinery will refine 600,000 barrels of the thick, viscous heavy crude oil a day by 2015.

As for Lush's store in the Galleria, shoppers who stop by the location at noon on Wednesday should get an eyeful and an earful:
Shop windows will showcase images of the deforestation and open pit mining associated with the tar sands, while in-store leaflets will be handed out to customers asking them to take action by supporting Rainforest Action Network's (RAN) fight to stop the tar sands.

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