WATCH – Say No to Keystone Pipeline, Chorus of Advocates Urge
Our cause is serious but the protest united us in a spirit of hope.
“Yes you can. Stop the pipeline,” chanted Keystone XL pipeline opponents on Friday, directing their call toward the White House three blocks away and echoing President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign slogan. Opponents held a rally outside the Reagan Building, site of the State Department’s last hearing on the proposal.
The diverse coalition of landowners, ranchers, Canadian and American indigenous peoples, national security experts, conservationists, students and religious leaders urged the Obama administration to reject TransCanada’s permit application to send 800,000 barrels of crude tar sands oil through a 1,700-mile pipeline every day through Midwestern five states. Hundreds packed the Reagan Building hearing room.
Larry Schweiger, NWF president and CEO, said, “Tar sands pipelines are dangerous and put our precious natural resources at risk while making the fight against global warming all but unwinnable. At a time when America needs big investments in homegrown clean energy jobs and solutions to global warming, turning to Canada for dirty fuels is the wrong way to go.” Keystone “will jeopardize our conservation heritage,” he told the State Department panel.
Landowners Say Pipeline Is Unjust
Nebraska rancher Randy Thompson, who’s stood strong in refusing pressure from pipeline builder TransCanada decried the Keystone plan as a “big oil subsidy, subsidizing TransCanada with private land.” The planned pipeline would cross his ranch. “We won’t roll over for them,” he warned.
Endangers Our Troops with More Oil Addiction
Retired Army Brigadier General Steve Anderson, who ran fuel convoys in Iraq, argued that the pipeline “keeps us addicted to oil” and that providing fuel in Afghanistan and Iraq war zones is killing American soldiers. He said that 3,500 American soldiers have died from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) while hauling oil to battlefields. And he added, America’s “oil addiction” leads to global warming which is causing instability around the world.
Whistleblower Says Industry Unsafe
Michael Klink, a civil engineer and former inspector for the first Keystone XL pipeline in North and South Dakota, described “horrendous” construction failures like concrete that lost its strength by freezing and concrete foundations lacking reinforcing rebar. Calling the company’s response to flaws as a “coverup,” he quoted pipeline operators as saying, “It’s in the middle of nowhere. Nobody will care.”
Energy Security Suffers
Loren Stultman of Oil Change International argued that the pipeline will not bring the U.S. any energy security since it will be exported to Latin American and European growth markets.
Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica described emails his group secured through a freedom-of-information request suggesting that State Department officials are “cozy” with TransCanada’s Washington lobbyist. Pica quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying she would be “inclined to approve it.” “Are these hearings a farce?” he asked. “Why is the State Department allowing clearing and moving endangered species in Nebraska before making a decision?”
Pipeline a Ticking Time Bomb
Susan Connolly, a Michigan mother of pre-schoolers, described the lingering aftereffects of a tar sands oil spill on the Kalamazoo River. “They don’t know how to clean it up. We’re the guinea pigs,” she explained, showing photos of multi-colored streams and skin sores from the oil’s toxic emissions.
More Suffering for First Nations
Saying that the pipeline would cross several Native American reservations, Deborah Whiteplume of the Lakota Nation, said the project is “against Mother Earth” and would be “genocide for First Nations.” “Say no, no, no,” she cried, pounding the podium.
George Fletcher, an indigenous Canadian who has lived near tar sands mining for 40 years, attributed rare cancers to tar sands oil. Maryland psychiatrist Lisa van Sustern linked tar sands toxics like benzene and arsenic to certain lymphomas and leukemias.
The Keystone XL pipeline would start in Alberta, Canada, snake through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and end at refineries in Port Arthur, Texas.