“Thou shall not pass!” was the Oglala Sioux and First Nations’ response to the State Department’s determination that the Keystone XL pipeline would not contribute to climate destabilization nor endanger the Oglala aquifer.
While admitting that “the total direct and indirect emissions associated with the proposed project would contribute to cumulative global GHG emissions,” the State Department denied that the pipeline would make a difference because “TransCanada would just find another way to ship it.” It conveniently ignores that the costs are 20 times more to move it by rail than pipeline.
The logic was so twisted that there was an immediate response within 72 hours of its release with 200 plus national demonstrations decrying it, including one here on Whidbey. Let’s examine the facts.
The pipeline connecting the Tar Sands project in Alberta, Canada, with Koch Brothers refineries in Texas will provide a superhighway that would carry 600,000 gallons/hour of toxic, explosive, tar sands diluted bitumen, thereby encouraging the development of the horror of the north, which is now despoiling a huge area of Alberta.
TransCanada has a terrible record for safety and spills.
While trains do derail, spilling thousands of gallons, pipelines spill millions of gallons, as happened in the Kalamazoo River and to Mayflower, Ark.
It threatens the Oglala aquifer upon which eight states and 2.3 million people depend as a source of water.
It would provide a few short-term, dirty jobs and massive profits for a very few and delay the transition to a much more job-intensive renewable energy economy.
It would be an excellent target for terrorists. How would you protect 1,600 miles of pipeline from a couple sticks of dynamite?
Finally, it would encourage a business-as-usual attitude, which denies the reality that climate destabilization and ocean acidification are driven by carbon dioxide pollution.
But, what of our moral obligation to the residents of northern Alberta? They are seeing their forests and lakes destroyed, their air and water polluted and land contaminated with methyl mercury making people sick and raising cancer rates alarmingly.
President Obama said that he would not approve KXL if it is likely to exacerbate climate change.
Well, the pipeline has been called the fuse to the tar sands “climate bomb.” We need to send him a clear message that we are not willing to sacrifice our future to the profits of the petroleum industry.
If the President denies this project, it would be a powerful acknowledgement that we must move on from this radical experiment with fossil fuels, whose outcome is now well known.
Let’s help him make that decision and get on with the transformation to a world we and our children can live on.
Gary and Dianne Piazzon