Update: August 28, 2011
The protests have been well-attended and garnered a moderate amount of media attention. Yet the the Obama administration's State Department has issued its approval for the pipeline, it what appears to be a deliberate blow to undermine the campaign. We must continue ratcheting up the pressure, and realize the final word will come on after the pipeline is fully constructed and operational. Plenty of time to protest and obstruct until then. The protest email has been updated to highlight the political risk to President Obama of alienating his green base.
The U.S. State Department is now deciding whether to permit the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, to bring tar sands oil from Canada - 1,500 miles across six states, and the Midwest’s vital Ogallala water aquifer - to refineries around Beaumont, Texas. The TransCanada Corporation building the pipeline has a recent history of pipeline leaks, with the precursor pipeline and its pumping stations having leaked a dozen times in the past year. Yet the gravest danger of the pipeline extension is the worldwide impact of burning large amounts of additional carbon fuel, and the resulting increase in global warming. Ultimately, the ability to grant approval for the pipeline rests with the Obama administration.
Canadian tar sands development is the most ecologically destructive project in the world. Producing oil from tar sands emits three times the global warming pollution as conventional oil, requires excessive amounts of energy and fresh water, destroys huge swaths of ancient boreal forest, and is highly toxic. As climatologist Jim Hansen explains, for any chance of getting back to a stable climate “the principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground… if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over.” Along with ending the use of coal, and protecting primary forests and restoring old growth forests, dismantling tar sands is a keystone response to the climate crisis and achieving global ecological sustainability.
This past August people power civil disobedience demonstrations in Washington opposec the Keystone extension. Participants rangec from indigenous elders from Alberta to Nebraska ranchers whose land is threatened by the pipeline route. Over 1,200 were arrested at the White House as they carried out a sit-inevery day between August 20th and September 3rd. The choice whether to build the pipeline and embrace decades of further fossil fuel addiction will affect America and the world’s climate for decades to come -- either helping put the U.S. and global economies on a green-job, low-carbon track, or locking in decades of dirty, inefficient and ecocidal fossil fuels.
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Filthy tar sands will further destroy the atmosphere and North America's ecological sustainability
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