Big Oil vs. Big Birds – Who Will Win?

On Thursday, the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be front and center in Grand Island, Nebraska, when the US State Department holds its lone public hearing on the immensely controversial project. The location couldn’t be more emblematic of what’s at risk — Grand Island is one of the world’s most important places for migratory birds, a crucial stopover for half a million Sandhill Cranes and endangered Whooping Cranes as they wing their way across the continent to summer nesting grounds in Canada. A stone’s throw from the Platte River, the town’s economy is bolstered by thousands of bird watchers who come to witness the spectacle each year.

Endangered Whooping Cranes – like this adult with its chick – are one of many species threatened by tar sands pipelines. (US Fish & Wildlife Service)
Keystone XL would jeopardize all of that. A tar sands spill — like the recent pipeline ruptures in Mayflower, Arkansas and Marshall, Michigan— could send an unprecedented amount of sticky, poisonous tar sands into the river and wetlands that support the cranes, as well as endangering the Ogallala Aquifer that supplies drinking water to millions of Americans.

National Wildlife Federation board member David Carruth, an Arkansas resident who has spent the last few weeks assisting in the response to the disastrous Pegasus pipeline spill, will be speaking at a press conference to highlight the dangers of tar sands for wildlife and public health. And David, along with Nebraska Wildlife Federation president Duane Hovorka, will testify at the hearing. adding their voices to the hundreds of attendees telling the State Department to deny the pipeline.

You can watch a live stream of the event here, and I’ll be back with a recap of the hearing later this week so stay tuned. If you haven’t already sent a message to the White House, NOW IS THE TIME! The public comment period closes on Monday, April 22 so tell the President and Secretary Kerry “NO KXL!”

Speak up for people and wildlife at risk from tar sands — Tell the White House to say NO! to Keystone XL.