Dec 6, 2013
Join the Blockade of the Keystone Pipeline
Posted on Oct 15, 2012
By Chris Hedges
“Keystone XL is being built as an export pipeline for Canada to sell its dirty oil to foreign markets,” he said. “This is not about energy security; it’s about securing TransCanada’s profits.”
Weis cited a report commissioned by Cornell University that concluded that the jobs estimates put forward by TransCanada were unsubstantiated and that the project could actually destroy more jobs than it created.
Barack Obama delayed, until after the election, a decision on permitting the northern leg of the pipeline after a series of civil disobedience actions led by Bill McKibben’s 350.org in front of the White House a year ago, as well as fierce opposition from ranchers in states such as Nebraska. The president, by announcing the delay, put an end to the widespread protests. Obama, however, flew to Cushing, Okla., in March to call for the southern leg of the pipeline to be fast-tracked. Standing in a pipeline yard, he said, “I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.” Obama’s rival for the presidency, Mitt Romney, was no less effusive in his support for Keystone XL, saying to a Pittsburgh audience in May: “If I’m president, we’ll build it if I have to build it myself.”
Grass-roots organizing along the proposed pipeline has grown, especially as the project began to be put in place.
The invasive extraction of tar sands and shale deposits, as well as deep-sea drilling in the Arctic, Alaska, the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico, has been sold to the U.S. public as a route to energy independence, a way to create millions of new jobs and a boost to the sagging economy, but this is another corporate lie. The process of extracting shale oil through hydraulic fracking, for example, requires millions of gallons of chemically treated water that leaves behind poisoned aquifers and huge impoundment ponds of toxic waste. The process of extracting oil shale, or kerogen, requires it to be melted, meaning that tremendous amounts of energy are required for a marginal return. The process of tar sand extraction requires vast open pit mining operations or pumping underground that melts the oil with steam jets. Tar sand extraction also releases significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil drilling, meaning an acceleration of global warming. Drilling in the Arctic, with its severe weather, costs as much as half a billion dollars per well. These processes are part of a desperate effort by corporations to make profits before a final systems collapse. Droughts are already sweeping the Midwest. The battle between farmers and fossil fuel corporations for diminishing water sources has begun. Yet our ruling elite refuses to face the stark reality of climate change. They ignore the imperative to find other ways of structuring our economies and our relationship to the environment. They myopically serve a doomed system. And, if left unstopped, the cost for all of us will be catastrophic.
Weis, a former congressional staffer, expects the last section of the pipeline to be authorized by the president once the election is over.
“It is critical that people understand that completion of the southern leg of Keystone XL—which President Obama and Gov. Romney both fully support—would give TransCanada a direct line from Alberta’s landlocked tar sands mine fields to refineries in Texas for export overseas,” Weis explained. “By tapping into Keystone I, which has already been built, the southern leg of Keystone XL would open the floodgates to tar sands exploitation in Canada. At a time when the climate is already dangerously destabilizing before our eyes, I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation.”
He described Obama’s and Romney’s “failure to stand up to this corporate bully” as a “failure to defend America.”
“It is unconscionable to put the interests of a transnational corporation before the health, safety and economic well-being of the American people,” he said.
Weis sees the struggle to halt the Keystone XL pipeline as a symbolic crossroads for the country and the planet. One path leads, he said, toward decay. The other toward renewal.
There comes a time when we must say to the ruling elite: ‘No more,’ ” he said. “There comes a time when we must make a stand for the future of our children, and for all life on Earth. That time is here. That time is now.”
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