I totally forgot to post photos of our anti-Keystone XL Pipeline demonstration, here in Greenville on Saturday. This might be because it actually started to snow (a big crisis in South Carolina!) and I quickly hightailed it home after we ate lunch.
Our small but hardy troupe included Green Party members, 350.org and Occupy Greenville. This was staged in front of the downtown TD Bank, which is funding the Keystone XL Pipeline. Local actions were on Saturday, while the larger, national demonstration in Washington (on the National Mall) was scheduled for Sunday.
I helped pass out leaflets to curious onlookers, which outlined some of the following points (this particular excerpt is from Friends of the Earth):
The Canadian oil and gas company TransCanada hopes to begin building a new oil pipeline that would trek close to 2,000 miles from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas. If constructed, the pipeline, known as the Keystone XL, will carry one of the world’s dirtiest fuels: tar sands oil. Along its route from Alberta to Texas, this pipeline could devastate ecosystems and pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health.
Giant oil corporations invested in Canada's tar sands are counting on the Keystone XL pipeline to make the expansion of oil extraction operations profitable: The pipeline would double imports of dirty tar sands oil into the United States and transport it to refineries on the Gulf Coast and ports for international export....
Before TransCanada can begin construction, however, the company needs a presidential permit from the Obama administration
Pollution from tar sands oil greatly eclipses that of conventional oil. During tar sands oil production alone, levels of carbon dioxide emissions are three times higher than those of conventional oil, due to more energy-intensive extraction and refining processes. The Keystone XL pipeline would carry 900,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil into the United States daily, doubling our country's reliance on it and resulting in climate-damaging emissions equal to adding more than six million new cars to U.S. roads.
During the tar sands oil extraction process, vast amounts of water are needed to separate the extracted product, bitumen, from sand, silt, and clay. It takes three barrels of water to extract each single barrel of oil. At this rate, tar sands operations use roughly 400 million gallons of water a day. Ninety percent of this polluted water is dumped into large human-made pools, known as tailing ponds, after it’s used. These ponds are home to toxic sludge, full of harmful substances like cyanide and ammonia, which has worked its way into neighboring clean water supplies.
Northern Alberta, the region where tar sands oil is extracted, is home to many indigenous populations. Important parts of their cultural traditions and livelihood are coming under attack because of tar sands operations. Communities living downstream from tailing ponds have seen spikes in rates of rare cancers, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. In the lakeside village of Fort Chipewyan, for example, 100 of the town’s 1,200 residents have died from cancer.It also appears that there will be minimal (if any) increases in American employment for the Pipeline, despite copious Republican propaganda that it will provide more jobs.
Notice that their "more jobs!" claims are always very nonspecific and vague. There's a reason for that.
Sunday's action in Washington featured a whopping 40,000 demonstrators. 350.org reports:
The speakers up on stage today represented the full diversity of our movement, from indigenous leaders across the United States and Canada, to clean energy investors like Tom Steyer, to environmental leaders like Mike Brune and Bill McKibben, to civil and voting rights activists like Rosario Dawson and Rev. Lennox Yearwood.Here is the NPR report on the demonstration.
The march today looked like the movement that elected President Obama. Now, it’s time for him to join us in standing up to Big Oil and saying no to Keystone XL. Because this movement isn’t going anywhere. We’re, to borrow a phrase, fired up and ready to go. And we’re not stopping until the President takes action.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see the New York Times cave to Big Oil on this one. (not linking)
I strongly urge people to investigate and study the issue on their own, because the mainstream media seems determined NOT to provide the whole story.