In an effort to drown out cries of “dirty oil” from oil sands critics last year, Alberta announced it would inject $2 billion into carbon capture and storage projects, its main plank in re-branding itself as a responsible emitter. Now, of the 20 companies the Alberta government chose during a bidding process as potential recipients of the cash, eight have withdrawn due to tough economic times. Suncor, Syncrude, ConocoPhillips and StatoilHydro are among the heavy-hitter oil sands firms that won’t be going forward, reports the Calgary Herald’s Kelly Cryderman. “The Alberta government held a party and nobody came,” Bob Skinner, of StatoilHydro Canada, told Cryderman, noting Alberta’s coal-fired electricity plants are an easier place to start than the oil sands and adding: “CCS is not a slam-dunk.” Even as the bidding process atrophies somewhat, Premier Ed Stelmach lobbies Ottawa to make sure the Obama administration is aware of Alberta’s commitment to carbon capture and storage. “Our nation’s future prosperity and its potential as a clean-energy superpower are at stake,” he wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.