Category Archives: Tar Sands

Obama wins legacy points by dissing KXL, even as clone opens for business

Thousands of acres of trees and plants, in an area the size of Florida, must be stripped away and the ground torn apart to mine for tar sands oil.

Thousands of acres of trees and plants, in an area the size of Florida, must be stripped away and the ground torn apart to mine for tar sands oil.

Lost in the comments President Obama offered this week on The Colbert Report about the future of the northern leg of Keystone XL, which excited some, is another pipeline system he’s permitted into existence.

That is, the one DeSmogBlog calls Enbridge’s “Keystone XL Clone,” which is now open for business and has hundreds of thousands of barrels of tar sands flowing through it straight to the Gulf of Mexico.

As Steve Horn writes at the end of this important piece: “Whether it’s called Keystone or Enbridge or something else, a tar sands export pipeline by any name is a fuse to a carbon bomb the world cannot afford.” We’d add to this that ANY tar sands export mechanism is such a fuse.

Obama Signals Keystone XL “No” on Colbert Report As Enbridge “KXL Clone” He Permitted Opens

By Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog, 11 December 2014

In his December 8 Colbert Report appearance, President Barack Obama gave his strongest signal yet that he may reject a presidential permit authorizing the Alberta to Cushing, Oklahoma northern leg of TransCanada‘s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Yet just a week earlier, and little noticed by comparison, the pipeline giant Enbridge made an announcement that could take the sails out of some of the excitement displayed by Obama’s “Colbert Report” remarks on Keystone XL North. That is, Enbridge’s “Keystone XLClone” is now officially open for business.

Read the full article here!

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Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Pipeline, Tar Sands

Another industry scam, this time Alberta tar sands investors left high and dry!

As the Saudi’s continue to flood the market with cheap oil in an attempt to break the economic back of Russia, investors in the Canadian tar sands (Hello Koch Brothers?) are in a bit of a first world pinch. This excellent expose published in The Ecologist shows how fossil fuel companies ware misleading investors and potential investors by greatly understating the risks of lower oil prices, higher costs for environmental damages, and new green house gas regulations. Something has to give, right?

The Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada. Photo: Elias Schewel via Flickr.

The Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada. Photo: Elias Schewel via Flickr.


Tar sands industry faces ‘existential’ $246 billion loss
By Gregory McGann, The Ecologist. 27th November 2014

The exploitation of Canada’s tar sands is more than just an environmental catastrophe, writes Gregory McGann. It’s also an turning into an economic disaster, with massive investments at risk as falling oil prices leave the tar sands stranded.

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Filed under Climate Change, Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Keystone XL, Oil, Tar Sands

The Arrested Get It: KXL Not Over

Photo credit: Red Power Media/Frank Thorp

Photo credit: Red Power Media/Frank Thorp

There’s plenty of great media out about the Senate vote, but here’s an aspect of the story worth us highlighting in our modest way this morning–the real significance and rallying point of the Sioux response, even up to and after the vote by Senate. It’s really important that the protests and arrests happened despite the squeaker vote against the pipeline: The protesters made a point that the fight is not over and that the vote is not really a cause of celebration, just a step in a struggle.

An essay by Alexander Reed Ross in Counterpunch this morning further articulates this idea. He writes:

In short, the Big Fail and ensuing celebrations from the Environmental NGOs looks suspiciously like a setup. It’s definitely not time to demobilize.

[The] KXL must be met through sincere and dedicated efforts at Indigenous solidarity with the Rosebud Sioux, who have called the KXL’s passage through the House an “act of war,” and others who are resisting not only the pipeline, but the tar sands as well.

Read Ross’s whole essay here.

Native Americans Arrested Following Keystone XL Pipeline Vote

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch. 19 November 2014

Anyone following the Keystone XL pipeline vote in the Senate yesterday heard what appeared to be chanting or singing in the background when the final tally of 41-59 was announced, signaling that approval of the pipeline had failed to clear the bar of 60 votes and that congressional approval of the pipeline was delayed for the time being.

 Read Pantsios’s whole article here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Keystone XL, Pipeline, Tar Sands

DeSmogBlog on the Edelman/TransCanada PR Story

Explosion of a TransCanada natural gas pipeline in Manitoba, January 26, 2014. CREDIT: YOUTUBE/ROBERTO GOMEZ

Explosion of a TransCanada natural gas pipeline in Manitoba, January 26, 2014. CREDIT: YOUTUBE/ROBERTO GOMEZ

As usual, DeSmogBlog did a great job covering the just breaking story of Edelman’s PR plan for a desperate TransCanada to win support and stymie public opposition to its Energy East pipeline.

This story only reminds us that, however silly and weak TransCanada comes off, the threat to those fighting the pipeline is real and, as Clayton Thomas-Muller recently said in a KPFK interview, “the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Edelman’s TransCanada Astroturf Documents Expose Oil Industry’s Broad Attack on Public Interest

By Brendan DeMelle, DeSmogBlog. 17 November 2014.

Documents obtained by Greenpeace detail a desperate astroturf PR strategy designed by Edelman for TransCanada to win public support for its Energy East tar sands export pipeline. TransCanada has failed for years to win approval of the controversial border-crossing Keystone XL pipeline, so apparently the company has decided to “win ugly or lose pretty” with an aggressive public relations attack on its opponents.

Read the whole article at DeSmogBlog.

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Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Pipeline, Public Relations, Tar Sands

Breaking: Indigenous and tribal groups sue US gov’t over tarsands pipeline

GJEP’s partners at the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Center for Biological Diversity are taking the offensive over the US drive to advance tarsands pipeline development in the US.

Activist groups sue over border pipeline

By David Shaffer, Star Tribune, November 12, 2014 

Tribal and environmental groups alleged the State Department should not have approved a temporary pipeline change allowing more Canadian oil to flow into Minnesota.

File photo of construction on the Alberta Clipper in 2009. Photo Enbridge

Tribal and environmental groups have sued the U.S. State Department for approving a temporary plan by a Canadian pipeline company to increase the flow of heavy crude oil from Alberta into Minnesota before a federal environmental study is finished.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, alleges that the State Department violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws in approving the temporary increase in oil flow and in not releasing information about it. The suit seeks an injunction to halt the project.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Keystone XL, Oil, Pipeline, Pollution, Tar Sands

Tar sands tailings ponds killing birds, even though companies said they had it under control

Tar sands mining, Fort McMurray. Photo by Emily Atkin

Tar sands mining, Fort McMurray. Photo by Emily Atkin

Once again, industry claims it has a problem under control and it doesn’t. Despite putting up all sorts of deflectors, birds are getting into tar sands tailings ponds, which are deadly to them a few times over (the waste weighs them down and is toxic). Similarly, we’re told GE trees are not a threat–what could possibly go wrong–which we know is more wishful thinking.

More Than 100 Birds Die After Landing On Tar Sands Waste Ponds In Canada
By Katie Valentine. Climate Progress. 6 Nov. 2014.

Despite the use of cannons, noise machines, and scarecrows, tar sands tailings ponds are still killing birds in Canada.

According to reports compiled by the Alberta Energy Regulator, 122 migratory birds have died this week at three tar sands operations in Alberta. The birds landed on the operations’ tailings ponds, the large pits that store the water, sand, clay, leftover oil, and toxic contaminants that are produced in the tar sands mining process.

Read the whole article here.

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Filed under Human made disasters, Tar Sands

Stop Kinder Morgan from expanding their tar sands pipeline

You don’t have to be on the front lines to get the message across — no tar sands pipelines will run through Burnaby Mountain. Cam Fenton with explains how people can help support those at the blockade, as well as send a message to Kidner Morgan that the world is united behind these people trying to stop the disastrous pipeline expansion. If allowed to build their monstrosity, the company will rip through a beautiful conservation area, displacing indigenous peoples and irrevocably altering the ecosystem.

Angry citizens confront Kinder Morgan at Burnaby Mountain on 29 Oct. 2014. Photo:

How to Help Stop Kinder Morgan
by Cam Fenton,, 5 Nov. 2014


In response, community members have established a camp and prevented Kinder Morgan from accessing the site. They have been slapped with a $5.6 million dollar lawsuit by Kinder Morgan and are facing an injunction from the company. The good news is that the mobilization is growing and backing up the blockaders. Here are some ways you can support them.

1. Send a message to Kinder Morgan that you stand with the blockade.

Kinder Morgan is already facing mounting opposition on the ground, so let them know that you’re watching and standing with the people protecting Burnaby Mountain and our climate. We’ll gather these messages and then deliver them to directly to Kinder Morgan to send a message that this camp is not alone and that thousands of people are backing them up.

Get the details on the other four ways you can help.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Tar Sands

Indigenous-led public opposition to tar sands is working!

Tar Sands Protest

Indigenous Peoples protest of tar sands stopped one half block short by police from going to the Canadian Embassy in Copenhagen. The rally did occur. There were no arrests. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Here’s a great article from the Guardian, brought to our attention by Clayton Thomas-Muller, one of the Indigenous leaders in the fight against tar sands extraction.

A new report shows that the Indigenous-led public opposition of tar sands extraction is working in a very important way, by slowing down the industry’s development and making extraction less profitable.

There’s other important aspects of the struggle–politically and culturally on all levels from the local to global–but this is an important sign that it’s working.

Public opposition has cost tar sands industry $17bn, says report
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian. 3 November 2014

Anti-tar sands campaigns have cost the industry a staggering $17bn (£11bn) in lost revenues, and helped to push it onto the backfoot, according to a study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), and Oil Change International.

Read the whole article here.


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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands, Victory!