A BP sign is seen outside a gas station in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A BP sign is seen outside a gas station in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - 
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Bill Radke: The British oil giant BP plans to invest in a controversial oil exploration project in Canada, and now some of BP's biggest investors have begun to revolt. We get the story form Marketplace's Stephen Beard in London.

Stephen Beard: The California Public Employees Retirement System, America's largest pension fund, says it'll vote against the BP board at next week's annual meeting. CALPERS and other funds back a resolution critical of BP's oil sands project in Canada.

Oil sands offer huge potential -- but, say the critics, at massive environmental cost. Extracting the oil from lumps of sand and clay is messy. It scars the landscape, leaves toxic waste, and emits far more carbon dioxide than drilling for oil.

Duncan Exley is with the ethical investment charity Fair Pensions. He says pension funds are rebelling, mainly for financial reasons:

Duncan Exley: This is by no means limited to the environment. There have been a number of unanswered questions about what the costs of this project are and what the earnings of this project are.

But the Canadian oil sands could yield 173 billion barrels of crude, placing Canada second only to Saudi Arabia in oil reserves. BP says it cannot ignore such a major resource.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.