Tag Archives: Keystone XL

While America spars over Keystone XL, a vast network of pipelines is quietly being approved

By Katie Valentine, March 20, 2014. Source: Think Progress

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After countless marches, arrests, Congressional votes, and editorials, the five-and-a-half year battle over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is nearing its end. If a recent ruling in Nebraska doesn’t delay the decision further, America could find out as soon as this spring whether or not the pipeline, which has become a focal point in America’s environmental movement, will be built.

But while critics and proponents of Keystone XL have sparred over the last few years, numerous pipelines — many of them slated to carry the same Canadian tar sands crude as Keystone — have been proposed, permitted, and even seen construction begin in the U.S. and Canada. Some rival Keystone XL in size and capacity; others, when linked up with existing and planned pipelines, would carry more oil than the 1,179-mile pipeline.

With the public eye turned on Keystone, some of these pipelines have faced little opposition. But it’s not just new pipelines that worry Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust. Weimer said companies are beginning to revamp old pipelines by expanding their capacity or reversing their flow, changes that can be troubling if proper safety measures aren’t put in place.
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Lakota vow: ‘Dead or in prison before we allow the KXL pipeline’

By Camila Ibanez, March 13, 2014. Source: Waging Nonviolence

Lakota members marched during the annual Liberation Day commemoration of the Wounded Knee massacre. People carried American Indian Movement flags and shot rifles into the air as part of the celebration.  Photo: Deep Roots United Front/Victor Puertas

Lakota members marched during the annual Liberation Day commemoration of the Wounded Knee massacre. People carried American Indian Movement flags and shot rifles into the air as part of the celebration. Photo: Deep Roots United Front/Victor Puertas

On February 27, Oglala Lakota and American Indian Movement activists joined in a four-directions walk to commemorate Liberation Day, an event to mark the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. As they do each year, four groups gather to the north, south, east and west and then walk eight miles until converging on top of Wounded Knee, where they honor the fallen warriors and the tribe’s rich history of resistance.

“It is an acknowledgement of the resiliency of who we are as a people,” explains Andrew Iron Shell, an organizer and activist of the Sicangu Lakota Nation. “It gives permission and courage for our up-and-coming generations to face the challenges of their time.”

The history of the occupation began with a massacre more than 100 years ago. On a cold day in December 1890, the United States army killed 300 Lakota men, women and children in a massive shoot out after a member of the First Nations refused to give up his arms. It marked the first bloodshed on Wounded Knee – although there had been many massacres of First Nations people by the colonialists before it. The event was also considered the end of the Indian Wars. Continue reading

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Transcanada Keystone XL PSA “reality remix”

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Hundreds arrested at White House Keystone protest

By Talia Buford, March 2, 2014. Source: Politico

The march makes its way through Georgetown in Washington, D.C.  Photo: M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

The march makes its way through Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Photo: M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

More than 300 anti-Keystone XL protesters were arrested Sunday afternoon outside the White House in the latest push by environmentalists to convince the Obama administration to reject the Canadian oil pipeline.

The student-led protest, organized by XL Dissent, started with a rally at Georgetown University. The students marched from there to the White House — with a stop at Secretary of State John Kerry’s house along the way.

Students from 80 colleges participated in Sunday’s event, and another protest will be held on Monday in San Francisco, said Aly Johnson-Kurts, a freshman at Smith College and one of the organizers of the event.

“The youth really understand the traditional methods of creating change are not sufficient … so we needed to escalate,” said Johnson, shortly before she was arrested at the White House. Continue reading

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No conflict of interest found in favorable review of Keystone pipeline

By Coral Davenport, February 26, 2014. Source: New York Times

Obama spoke at the TransCanada Stillwater pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma about the Keystone XL pipeline and his energy policies on March 22, 2012. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images.

Obama spoke at the TransCanada Stillwater pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma about the Keystone XL pipeline and his energy policies on March 22, 2012. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images.

WASHINGTON — A State Department contractor who prepared an environmental analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline did not violate conflict-of-interest rules, even though the contractor had previously done work for TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline, a State Department inspector general’s investigation concluded on Wednesday.

The results of the investigation could further pave the way for the Obama administration to approve the 1,700-mile, $5.4 billion pipeline, which would move oil from forest in Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline has become a critical cause to environmentalists, who view President Obama’s ultimate decision as a reflection of his commitment to fight climate change. They have rallied, protested and been arrested by the thousands in an effort to pressure him to reject the project.

Supporters of the pipeline, particularly Republicans and the fossil fuel industry, hailed the new report, saying it further strengthened their case.

“Another day and another government report that finds no reason to continue blocking this common-sense, job-creating project,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, said in an email. “It’s long past time the president stop pandering to his extremist allies and just approve it so we can get people back to work.” Continue reading

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Oglala Sioux vow to stop Keystone XL on the ground if Obama won’t say no

By Erin Flegg, February 6, 2014. Source: Vancouver Observer

Chief Phil Lane Jr. (left) participates in the Vancouver signing of the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred From Tar Sands Projects. Photo courtesy of Phil Lane Jr.

Chief Phil Lane Jr. (left) participates in the Vancouver signing of the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred From Tar Sands Projects. Photo courtesy of Phil Lane Jr.

In the latest in a series of announcements escalating resistance to oil and gas development in North America, the Oglala Sioux nation and its allies have committed to stopping the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on their territory if Obama approves the project.

In response to the US State Department’s environmental report that says Keystone wouldn’t increase the country’s carbon emissions Oglala Sioux president Bryan Brewer, along with organizations Honour the Earth, Owe Aku and Protect the Sacred, released a statement declaring they will stand with the Lakota people to block the pipeline. The statement, seen by many as a significant step toward approval, sparked solidarity action across the US on Monday.

Moccasins on the Ground is a grassroots direct action training organization, and trainer Debra White Plum of the Lakota Sioux nation said the group has been working toward this moment, giving nations the skills they need to defend their land, for years now.

The training is available to anyone who invites the group onto their land, and it consists of four days of training in areas such as knowing your rights, blockading and self-defence, first aid and social media. White Plume said a large part of the impetus for offering the training is the size of the territory at risk. Tribes can be several hundred kilometres away from each other, often making quick help hard to come by. Continue reading

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Keystone XL ‘black snake’ pipeline to face ‘epic’ opposition from Native American alliance

By Jorge Barrera, January 31, 2014. Source: APTN National News

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Image: U.S. State Department

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Image: U.S. State Department

A Native American alliance is forming to block construction of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline which still needs final approval from U.S. President Barack Obama after the State Department released an environmental report indicating the project wouldn’t have a significant impact Alberta tar sands production.

Members from the seven tribes of the Lakota Nation, along with tribal members and tribes in Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana, Nebraska and Oregon, have been preparing to stop construction of the 1,400 kilometre pipeline which is slated to run, on the U.S. side, from Morgan, Mon., to Steel City, Neb., and pump 830,000 barrels per day from Alberta’s tar sands. The pipeline would originate in Hardisty, Alta.

“It poses a threat to our sacred water and the product is coming from the tar sands and our tribes oppose the tar sands mining,” said Deborah White Plume, of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which is part of the Lakota Nation in South Dakota. “All of our tribes have taken action to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.”

The U.S. State Department released its long awaited environmental report on TransCanada’s proposed pipeline Friday. The report found that the pipeline’s operation would not have a major impact on Alberta tar sands production which is also at the mercy of market forces. Continue reading

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Stand with the Oglala Lakota Nation against Keystone XL pipeline

February 2, 2014. Source: Idle No More

1798819_284387205057791_1102326687_nIdle No More and Defenders of the Land stand with the Lakota Nation, Owe Aku, Protect the Sacred, Honor the Earth, and all land defenders opposing Keystone XL.  We stand with our neighbours to honour the treaties, protect sacred water, and to defend the Indigenous ways of life.

Below is a statement from Honor the Earth that has been developed in collaboration with the Oglala Sioux Nation, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred.  Check the information links below and organize a vigil in your community in solidarity with the Lakota resistance to the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“The Oglala Lakota Nation has taken leadership by saying “NO” to the Keystone XL Pipeline. They have done what is right for the land, for their people, who, from grassroots organizers like Owe Aku and Protect the Sacred, have called on their leaders to stand and protect their sacred lands. And they have: KXL will NOT cross their treaty territory, which extends past the reservation boundaries. Their horses are ready. So are ours. We stand with the Lakota Nation, we stand on the side of protecting sacred water, we stand for Indigenous land-based lifeways which will NOT be corrupted by a hazardous, toxic pipeline. WE ALL NEED TO STAND WITH THEM. Continue reading

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Texas and Oklahoma residents start new chapter, as Keystone XL South begins hazardous materials transport through region

January 22, 2014. Source: Tar Sands Blockade

Photo: Tar Sands Blockade

Photo: Tar Sands Blockade

The highly anticipated startup of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has not deterred impacted residents from beginning a new chapter in advocating for the safety and integrity of their homes, communities, and natural spaces. Following years of entanglement with multinational pipeline corporation TransCanada and no support from elected officials, residents stretching from Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf Coast have been meeting to discuss how the tar sands pipeline has shaped how they relate to their communities and the political geographies of the pipeline.

Communities on the frontlines of the tar sands refining complexes in Houston’s toxic east end and Ponca City, Oklahoma near KXL South’s origin in Cushing, are facing increased toxic emissions from the facilities as tar sands transport capacity increases with KXL South. Yudith Nieto, an organizer with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS), suggests her neighbors in Houston’s Manchester neighborhood have felt sidelined as the national debate about the pipeline remained transfixed on private property scandals and climate change without much regard to the already life-threatening air quality near the tar sands refineries.

“Independent of whether or not KXL South construction went ahead, children in my neighborhood are 56% more likely to contract childhood leukemia than children just 10 miles away,” says Nieto, citing a recent comparative health study of residents living in proximity to refining activity along the heavily polluted Houston Ship Channel. “What we do know is that refining tar sands will only increase that percentage while the refineries keep up their blatant disregard for the lives of those of us forced by circumstance to breathe their dangerous emissions on a daily basis.” Continue reading

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Researchers find 7,300-mile ring of mercury around tar sands in Canada

By Peter Moskowitz, December 29, 2013. Source: Al Jazeera America

This aerial photo shows a tar sands mine facility near Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Canada. Photo: Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press/AP

This aerial photo shows a tar sands mine facility near Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Canada. Photo: Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press/AP

Scientists have found a nearly 7,500-square-mile ring of land and water contaminated by mercury surrounding the tar sands in Alberta, where energy companies are producing and shipping oil throughout Canada and the U.S.

Government scientists are preparing to publish a report that found levels of mercury are up to 16 times higher around the tar sand operations, principally due to the excavation and transportation of the bitumen in the sands by oil and gas companies, according to Postmedia-owned Canadian newspapers like the Vancouver Sun.

Environment Canada researcher Jane Kirk recently presented the findings at a toxicology conference in Nashville.

The revelations add to a growing concern over the environmental impacts of the tar sands. Many environmentalists charge that the exploitation of the sands for oil will lead to an increase in carbon emissions, the destruction and contamination of land and water and health problems for Canadians. The debate over the tar sands crossed over into the United States when energy company TransCanada proposed building the Keystone XL pipeline to transport the crude oil to the southeastern U.S. for refining and distribution.
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