Category Archives: 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!

RCMP surveilled Indigenous environmental groups fighting Canada’s extreme ‘energy economy’

Photo by Ben Powless of the Wet’suwet’en Nation Enbridge protest that was one of the areas of focus for the RCMP. Extremist? Worthy of surveillance by the RCMP. Worthy of attention, for sure, but not RCMP surveillance.

Photo by Ben Powless of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s Enbridge protest that was one of the areas of focus for the RCMP. Extremist? Worthy of surveillance by the RCMP? Worthy of attention, for sure, but not RCMP surveillance. The sign now takes on new meaning. In response to ‘Respect Indigenous Rights,’ RCMP says, ‘No.’

Last week, APTN released findings from researcher Jeffrey Monaghan that show that the RCMP closely surveilled members of the IEN (Indigenous Environmental Network) and their allies in 2010 during organizing to fight the extreme energy extraction of the tar sands and the pipelines. Documents show that the RCMP categorized IEN as an extremist group, and might still do so, despite disagreements even among officers.

Global Justice Ecology Project is among several others who are named as supporters of a 2010 protest against the Enbridge pipeline, and named as “involved persons.”

“When you read the document closely it shows an intimate surveillance,” said Monaghan. “(The documents) show the breadth of and the normalization of the regular systematic surveillance of protest groups, of people who criticize government policy and critics of energy policy. You have national security bureaucracies, agencies, focused on domestic protest groups and it has nothing to do with terror, but with the energy economy.”

Yup, not surprising historically at all, but repression nonetheless. What to do? Hard to know, but political pressure couldn’t hurt. How dare RCMP target Indigenous environmental organizers in this way?

 RCMP tracked movements of Indigenous activist from ‘extremist’ group: documents
By Jorge Barrera. APTN National News. Oct. 17, 2014.

The RCMP closely monitored the movements of an Indigenous environmental activist as it tightened surveillance around possible protests in northern British Columbia targeting the energy firm behind the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline, according to “confidential” documents obtained by APTN National News.

Read the whole article here.

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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Pipeline, Political Repression, Tar Sands

Line 9 protesters blocked gates of Montreal oil refinery to protest reversing flow for tar sands

bzvl4c5caaagaqc_0News was made yesterday when three Line 9 protesters chained themselves to a fence, tripod and post in front of an Enbridge facility in Montreal. They were protesting the development of Line 9 to reverse its flow, bringing Alberta tar sands oil east.

The Media Co-op story is below, but the Media Co-op also posted a letter from the protesters (an English translation is in the comments section) and, as often is the case, Twitter kept those of us following yesterday in the loop and gave up great pictures.

Global News also provided surprisingly compelling videos and photos.

Activists lock-down at Montreal oil refinery to protest Enbridge’s Line 9, Alberta tar sands
By Tim McSorley, The Media Co-op. October 7, 2014.

Four people in Montreal [...] locked themselves to the gates at SUNCOR oil refinery in the city’s east end.

In a release issued this morning [October 7], the demonstrators explained that their action is to counter the reversal of Enbridge’s Line 9B oil pipeline. The reversal in the pipeline’s flow will bring bitumen from the Alberta tar sands east, through including through Montreal, for eventual export.

Read the whole article by the Media Co-op here!

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Pipeline, Tar Sands