tagged w/ tarsands
We need more than sound bytes in an election year. Now, I am really not too hopeful considering that BP will once again be allowed to drill in the Gulf and Shell is going to be allowed to drill the Arctic. So while this action alone even if it isn't approved won't actually stop the tarsands, or stop BP, or stop Shell, or stop Chevron, it will stop a catastrophe waiting to happen to our water, agriculture, climate balance and health. And President Obama, I don't really think you have any other choice. You need to make the right one, and not because it is close to an election year, but because you meant what you said in 2007 when you were running the first time. Actions speak louder than words.
http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/11/04/361628/keystone-xl-pipeline-ad/We need more than sound bytes in an election year. Now, I am really not too hopeful... more
The fight against the Keystone XL Pipeline is heating up, with many positive and important developments occuring this past week, excluding the disgraceful, though unsurprising decision by the Obama for President 2012 campaign team to bring a former TransCanada lobbyist, Broderick Johnson (husband of NPR's Michele Norris), onto its upper-level staff.
Six main big ticket items stand out, in particular:
~A call for a U.S. State Department Office of the Inspector General probe into the Keystone XL pipeline review process by 14 U.S. Congressional members.
~A call for a special session to occur on November 1 by Nebraska Republican Governor Dave Heineman regarding pipeline safety concerns.
~A meeting between leaders of the youth climate movement and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson on the pipeline.
~A recent massive anti-pipeline action that took place in San Francisco, in which 1,000 protesters greeted Obama at one of his fundraising events for his 2012 presidential run.
~An announced push-back of the Keystone XL pipeline final decision date by the State Department.
~An acknowledgement, at last, by President Barack Obama that he is taking into consideration the concerns voiced by citizens nationwide about the potential risks to public health, water supplies and the global climate if he approves the Keystone XL pipeline.
The request for the probe, announced in a letter signed by the 14 Democrats and sent to the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. State Department, calls for "an investigation into the State Department's handling of the Environmental Impact Statement and National Interest Determination for TransCanada Corporation's proposed Keystone XL pipeline."
Key excerpts of the letter read,
“Given the significant economic, environmental, and public health implications of the proposed pipeline, we believe that it is critical that the State Department conduct thorough, unbiased reviews of the project. Further, it is imperative that the State Department process be free of actual or apparent conflicts of interest…
…[G]iven the importance of this project and the process regarding the State Department's review process to-date, a thorough investigation covering…any possible violations of federal law or improper conduct related to the State Department…a [probe is warranted]…for the Keystone XL “
While only 14 out of 435, it shows that the issue is, at minimum, high on the radar of some politicians inside the Beltway and the voices of grassroots leaders are finally being heard, at least by some.
Nebraska Special Session
Nebraska has, in many ways, been ground zero in the fight against the pipeline, led in the forefront by Jane Kleeb's grassroots activist group, Bold Nebraska.
Public opposition to the pipeline got the attention of the governor of a Republican Party generally uninclined to accept scientific reality.
Having already urged President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to deny the permit on a seperate occasion at the end of August, Heineman, hearing only the sound of silence from what DeSmogBlog has called "State Department Oil Services," Heineman called for a special sesssion regarding the pipeline.
"The purpose of the Special Session will be to find a legal and constitutional solution to the siting of oil pipelines within the state," according to a press release issued by Heineman.
Of chief concern, the current pipeline route runs directly over the Nebraska Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer, both of which are vital pieces of the Nebraska economy.
Youth Climate Movement Meeting
Representatives of the youth climate movement met with EPA head Lisa Jackson - including former Obama volunteers, as well as the Energy Action Coalition, a coalition of 50 youth-led environmental and social justice groups working together to build the youth clean energy and climate movement. Keystone XL was among the topics of the meeting.
Activists' Push Against Pipeline Drawing Attention
The day after a protest in San Francisco, which drew a crowd of 1,000 anti-pipeline protesters to greet him, President Obama was again greeted by more protesters in Denver who interrupted his campaign stump speech.
Forced to acknowledge them, at last, Obama stated, "I know your deep concern about it…We will address it."
The decision process has been bottlenecked and pushed back by the State Department, which likely thought at first that, likely nearly all other ecologically destructive decisions it makes, it would be rubber-stamped.
Not the case this time around, though.
Upcoming next steps
This all comes ahead of a big November 6 action organized by the leaders of the Tar Sands Action movement, in a call to circle around the White House to demand that President Barack Obama reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.
As the late historian Howard Zinn once proclaimed, "What matters is not who's sitting in the White House, but who's SITTING IN the White House — and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change."
By Steve Horn 30 October 11The fight against the Keystone XL Pipeline is heating up, with many positive and... more
President Obama’s new senior campaign adviser lobbied the administration last year to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a relationship that’s feeding environmentalists’ claims that the White House is too close to pipeline developer TransCanada Corp.
Lobbying disclosure records show that Broderick Johnson lobbied in favor of the pipeline – which remains under administration review – during the fourth quarter of 2010 while he was with the firm Bryan Cave.
Johnson, a former partner with the firm, left Bryan Cave in April. He's a veteran of the Clinton White House and Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential campaign.
Johnson was part of a well-connected team at at Bryan Cave that lobbied Congress, the executive office of the president, the State Department, the Commerce Department and other agencies on TransCanada's behalf, records show.
The team included Jeff Berman, the former delegate counter for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and David Russell, a former chief of staff to the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), according to records.
The hiring by Obama’s reelection campaign comes as environmentalists are already alleging the ongoing State Department review of Keystone XL is tilted in favor of TransCanada, which is seeking federal approval for a $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline to bring crude from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.
Green groups have highlighted friendly emails between TransCanada lobbyist Paul Elliot — a former 2008 campaign aide to now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — and the State Department.
Bill McKibben, the climate activist helping to orchestrate anti-Keystone protests at the White House, slammed the announcement that Johnson is advising Obama’s reelection campaign.
“It stinks. I don't think you could conceive a more elaborate way to disrespect not just the environmental community but also Occupy Wall Street, because this is simply a reminder of the way that corporate lobbyists dominate our politics. Forget ‘Hope and Change’ — it's like they want their new slogan to be 'Business as Usual,’ ” McKibben, founder of the group 350.org, said in a statement.
Green groups and some lawmakers are also questioning the use of the firm Cardno ENTRIX to perform State’s environmental impact study of the proposed pipeline — which gave it a largely favorable review — despite the firm’s financial ties TransCanada.
McKibben and other environmentalists are pushing Obama to reject TransCanada’s proposal and are planning a Nov. 6 demonstration at the White House.
More than 1,200 people were arrested in peaceful protests against the project near the White House over the summer. The State Department plans to make a final decision on the project around the end of the year.
more at the link
http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQQEshUbrC1fVdvlb0YGkTOKpzDirD6J-RDes3xEG2990Zm-N9Mi68SNCz4President Obama’s new senior campaign adviser lobbied the administration last... more
Fuel from oil sands projects face effective ban under EU proposals, though UK may oppose green plan
Oil from controversial and environmentally destructive tar sands is likely to be all but banned from Europe after a decision on Tuesday. The move also casts doubt on the future of other controversial energy sources such as shale gas.
Tar sands (also known as oil sands) have been a target of green campaigners for several years, as the extraction of low quality oil from sands – chiefly in Canada to date – produces far greater greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil drilling operations, and requires vast quantities of water. The exploitation of tar sands has also led to the destruction of swaths of forest and is blamed for water and air pollution.
In a victory for Connie Hedegaard, the EU's climate change commissioner, the commission has decided to back a new directive on fuel quality. This will set minimum environmental standards for a range of fuels, including tar sands, coal converted to liquid and oil from shale rock.
Hedegaard said: "With this measure, we are sending a clear signal to fossil fuels suppliers. As fossil fuels will be a reality in the foreseeable future, it's important to give them the right value.''
Franziska Achterberg, EU transport policy adviser for Greenpeace, said: "Today's move by the commission is good news. Tar sands extraction is a very dirty business for the climate, polluting rivers, lacing the air with toxins and turning forests into wasteland. Despite coming under intense pressure from oil lobbyists and Canada, the commission is doing the right thing by wanting to keep tar sands out of Europe to protect the climate."
The proposals have now been sent to EU member states who will meet in four to six weeks to vote on the proposal. It will then go to the European parliament for final approval.
If the proposed standards are accepted, they will all but rule out imports of tar sands, unless producers can clean up their acts. The commission has proposed that tar sands be ascribed a greenhouse gas value of 107 grams per megajoule of fuel – this compares with 87.5 grams per megajoule for ordinary crude oil, on average. Producers will also have to cut the carbon footprint of their fuels by 6% in the next decade.
More at the linkFuel from oil sands projects face effective ban under EU proposals, though UK may... more
In lobbying for a presidential permit to construct a massive oil pipeline stretching from Canada to the Gulf Coast, TransCanada’s Paul Elliott has tried nearly every angle.
Elliott — who served as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s national deputy campaign manager in 2008 — sought to broker multiple meetings between senior State Department officials and TransCanada executives. He offered to enlist TransCanada officials’ aid in helping State officials forge an international climate agreement. And he deluged administration officials with letters testifying to the virtues of the Keystone XL expansion project, which would ship crude oil from Canada’s oil sands region to American refiners.
The State Department, which completed its environmental assessment of the project last month, has indicated that it will decide later this year whether to allow the company to construct the 1,700-mile pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border.
More than two dozen State Department e-mails obtained by the advocacy group Friends of the Earth under a Freedom of Information Act request provide an unusual glimpse into the lobbying for the Keystone permit, which has become a battleground in the national debate over how to address climate change.
They show how Elliott tried to exploit relationships built in political campaigns, with mixed results. The e-mails are almost all between Elliott and a special assistant to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff. All three knew one another from working on Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Damon Moglen, who directs Friends of the Earth’s climate and energy project, said the e-mails also show a State Department official giving inappropriate “coaching” to TransCanada’s chief executive about how to respond to arguments against the pipeline.
State officials countered that the messages show that TransCanada lobbyists and executives were diverted to officials not directly involved in the pipeline decision. “We don’t want to give anyone an unfair advantage by giving them access to a decision maker,” said Daniel Clune, principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
Environmentalists have urged the administration to block the permit on the grounds that tapping crude from Canada’s oil sands, or tar sands, releases far more greenhouse gases than other forms of oil extraction and could lead to spills in sensitive areas along the pipeline’s route. The project’s backers say it will provide foreign oil from a trusted ally while generating American jobs.
Trying to ease concerns
The e-mails show that Elliott worked assiduously to try to ease administration concerns about the pipeline’s environmental impact.
More at the linkIn lobbying for a presidential permit to construct a massive oil pipeline stretching... more
It is now on to phase two. The risks these people took should not be forgotten.
President Obama, this is not going away.
NO to Keystone XL!
YES to climate leadership!It is now on to phase two. The risks these people took should not be forgotten.... more
OTTAWA (September 7, 2011) - Nine distinguished recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize have written to President Obama, urging him to reject the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, saying his decision offers "a critical moment" to make good on his pledge to create a clean energy economy.
"We urge you to say no" to the pipeline and "turn your attention back to supporting renewable sources of energy and clean transportation solutions," says the letter (Download PDF), sent today. "This will be your legacy to Americans and the global community: energy that sustains the lives and livelihoods of future generations." Read the full text of the letter below.
The letter was signed by nine Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams of Ireland, who shared the prize in 1976, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina (1980), Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa (1984), His Holiness the Dalai Lama (1989), Rigoberta Menchú Tum of Guatemala (1992), José Ramos-Horta of East Timor (1996), Jody Williams of the United States (1997), and Shirin Ebadi of Iran (2003).
The Keystone XL, proposed by TransCanada Pipelines of Calgary, would carry dirty, toxic and corrosive oil from the tar sands of Alberta through six states in the American heartland to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. The Obama Administration has said it will decide by the end of the year whether to permit the pipeline, after the State Department determines whether it is in the national interest.
Opposition to the pipeline has surged in recent weeks as more than 1,250 people were arrested in 14 days of sit-ins at the White House - perhaps the largest wave of civil disobedience ever for an environmental cause in the U.S. More protests are being organized for September 26 in Ottawa and the first week of October in Washington.
"In asking you to make this decision," the Nobel Laureates wrote to Obama, "we recognize the thousands of Americans who risked arrest to protest in front of the White House between August 20th and September 3rd. These brave individuals have spoken movingly about experiencing the power of nonviolence in that time. They represent millions of people whose lives and livelihoods will be affected by construction and operation of the pipeline in Alberta, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas."
The Laureates noted the risk of a pipeline spill contaminating the Ogallala Aquifer, the main source of fresh water for the Great Plains. Concern for the fragile Nebraska Sandhills, which lie above the aquifer, has led Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman to call for rejection of the pipeline in its current route. TransCanada's existing Keystone I pipeline, which would connect to the XL, has leaked 14 times in its first year of operation.
The letter also called attention to tar sands oil as one of the dirtiest energy sources on Earth. If fully developed, the Alberta tar sands would be the second largest source of global warming gases in the world, which the Laureates said "will not only hurt people in the US--but will also endanger the entire planet."
The letter was released today by the Nobel Women's Initiative, an Ottawa-based nonprofit founded in 2003 by six of the only 12 women ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Read the full text of the letter at the linkOTTAWA (September 7, 2011) - Nine distinguished recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize... more
An evolving species knows to heed this call. President Obama the future is calling to you. You have the final say on this. What do you say to the indigenous people who now already suffer the effects of this toxic insanity? What do you say to the forest, rivers and wildlife? What do you say to the aquifer that provides sustenance for billions of people and is already suffering the effects of climate change and consumption? What do you say to the farmers whose livelihoods and land are at stake? What do you say to the climate balance of this planet already pushed to the tipping point?
History is being made outside the White House and it is not a political movement, it is a human movement.
The amount of people arrested to date is 1,009 and counting. How many will it take?
Thank you to all of those who risked and were arrested to stand up for our future.
I hope you know how many are standing with you.
YES to climate justice and a clean energy future!An evolving species knows to heed this call. President Obama the future is calling to... more
Keystone XL-NO!- Days 12&13: 706 arrests, and Obama's press secretary says he hasn't talked to him about thisWe just got some important evidence that this protest is working and that we’re breaking through to the mainstream media and the White House.
This morning, President Obama’s press secretary, Jake Carney, was questioned by reporters on Air Force One about our protest happening outside the White House. We’ve been trying to break through to the White House press corps for the last few days. Now, we know that we’ve struck a nerve.
Here’s the transcript from Air Force One:
Q: Also, anything on these protests outside the White House on this pipeline? Has the President decided against TransCanada’s permit for the pipeline? It’s the tar sands pipeline. There have been a lot of arrests outside the White House about it.
MR. CARNEY: I don’t have anything new on that. I believe the State Department has — that’s under the purview of the State Department presently, but I don’t have anything new on that.
Q: Is the President aware of the protests?
MR. CARNEY: I haven’t talked to him about it.
Now, here’s the thing: while it’s great to see the press corps pushing the Administration to recognize our demonstration, the fact that Carney hasn’t yet briefed the President on the protest and the pipeline is a worrying sign about how out of touch this administration is on this issue.
“Just in the last two days everyone from the president’s chief climate scientist to an 84-year-old grandmother was arrested on his front doorstep,” said environmental author Bill McKibben, who is spearheading the White House protest. “This is the largest civil disobedience action in the environmental movement in a generation, and if they really aren’t even discussing it with the president, that signals a deep disrespect for their supporters, especially young people who have demonstrated that the environment is a top priority.”
We’re going to be pushing Carney and the Administration to make sure President Obama is hearing directly from people across the country who are here in DC risking arrest, and the many hundreds of thousands more that support this cause.
more at the link
That means either one of two things. He really hasn't told him because they already know what they are going to do and could really care less about this. Or this was just a deflection because he couldn't reveal anything more. Either way though, at least he didn't ask, what protest? He knew what was implied and that means they do know. Everyday more and more people are finding out about this and the toxic legacy it is bringing to our planet. And more and more people are standing up to say NO to this toxic carbon timebomb.
And that is because this is getting out through social media, the Internet and primarily because of the bravery and conviction of those who sit and stand in front of the White House. All of them. Some who I am sure thought long and hard of the residual effects this could have on their lives. And I thank them, because they also managed to do something I have wanted to see for a long time. They managed to bring the entire environmental movement together. I have always thought that we have not been as successful in getting this message out as we could be because we were too fragmented. Each organization with their own goals competing against each other rather then joining together for a common cause.
This now is the cause. Standing up at last for health, clean air and water, sustainability, climate balance, climate justice and the beginning of a time when our children will be able to look at us and say thank you for caring about the world they inherit from us.
This is what it is all about and President Obama, you know it too and you know what you need to do.
Keystone XL- NO!We just got some important evidence that this protest is working and that we’re... more
The two week protest at the White House was put on hold today because of Hurricane Irene and the clean up effort. Actually, Irene's presence at this very historical time for the climate justice movement is one more indication of why President Obama must say NO to the Keystone XL pipeline. The State Dept's recent report which reeks of corporate influence and lobbying only reiterates the perseverence we all must have now in fighting this continuation of an addiction that is killing us.
No report by the State Dept. can hide the reality of what we now see taking place around the globe due to human influence. The only way we the people will secure a sustainable healthy future for our children and theirs is to keep fighting this fight because it is right.
President Obama, you still have the final say. Do you vote to go forward which signifies clean energy, clean water and moral courage? Or do you vote with the status quo which signifies pollution, tipping points and climate catastrophe?
This is the fourth post I am making in solidarity with those who risk arrest in Washington DC in standing up for all that is positive about our future. We need to do this now.
Please join me in supporting those who are speaking for us and those species that cannot speak for themselves.
Keystone XL-NO, NO, NO!
And thank you, British Columbia.The two week protest at the White House was put on hold today because of Hurricane... more
There is another earthquake shaking up Washington Dc this week: the beginning of what will hopefully be the shaking up of the status quo that has kept us from achieving the truly sustainable future we can give to ourselves and our children. Those continuing to sit in to stand up for humanity and all species in the wake of the effects of climate change and the absolute apathy and greed of corporations deserve our support.
And this is without regard to race, creed, or politics. This pipeline will affect ALL of us regardless of labels. Its dirty, toxic ingredients will threaten the water of the Ogalalla aquifer that irrigates our heartland. The burning of its ingredients will set off a carbon timebomb that will make the words "tipping point" all too real.
IT'S TIME TO BREAK THE ADDICTION.
The call to say NO to this pipeline is also a call to say YES to clean renewable energy. Clean energy jobs. Clean water. Respect for the rights of others.
This is the moral challenge of our time!
We cannot betray future generations for a quick buck. The price is simply too high.
So please, let's keep this going on Current. Let's keep giving these brave people our support and with each NO or other sign of encouragement we also tell President Obama that we the people are the voice and his NO is a vindication of his caring about that voice.
Keystone XL-NO!There is another earthquake shaking up Washington Dc this week: the beginning of what... more
It's day 3 of the two week sit-in which will be the beginning of the movement of the people to stop this senseless destructive path we are on as a species. This is about more than a long piece of metal winding its way through our country. This is about the global repercussions of continuing to be addicted to that which is killing us and the ecosystems that sustain life on this planet.
And while I too know that to go "cold turkey" would be just as much a catastrophe, we must now work together to make those in government understand that to continue on this path without adequate transition is even more catastrophic. But yes, I know the score and the odds just as those sitting in Washington DC do. However, this is about the survival of civilization as we know it and that is simply the reality of it all. This is a moral imperative.
The link to the thread above was the first post in what I hope will be a series over the next two weeks to virtually protest this unnecessary pipeline and to stand in solidarity with those who risk arrest in trying to make President Obama understand that a YES to this will also affect the world his children will live in.
So once again, please use this thread to comment NO, or any other encouragement you wish to convey to those sitting in to stand up for us that we are with them in spirit.
If you truly love your planet and wish to preserve it, this is the time to make it known.
They want it all but they won't get it without a fight!It's day 3 of the two week sit-in which will be the beginning of the movement of... more
UPDATE: Protesters arrested outside White House/ Stand up against Keystone XL pipeline: join virtual protest hereThis thread is just one of many that I will be starting in the next two weeks to virtually protest in solidarity with those risking arrest in Washington DC who are sitting in to stand up for our climate, our water, our land and our energy future. Please help us support these good people. If you are in agreement type NO in the comments section, or add any type of encouragement to share the spirit of the people being heard for climate justice.
The Keystone XL pipeline must go!
Tarsands is the sign that desperation has hit the fossil fuel industry as our addiction has become dangerous for the continued sustainability of our planet. Tarsands is the wake up call regarding a moral imperative we are losing.
Consider the actions involved in extracting the bitumen tar from the sand and the process of separation that involves usage of huge amounts of water and toxic agents in making the finished product suitable for gas tanks. Consider the environmental degradation of pristine ecosystems, rivers, species and cultures. Consider the health effects and cancers related to the toxification of land, water and air that have taken lives. Consider the climate timebomb being released by the burning of this dirty toxic crude all to satisfy the greed of those who care nothing for the damage this is doing to the world you and yours will live in. This is not progress, this is insanity.
However, the fault is not just with those who process this destruction. The fault also lies with us. Those who continue to consume it in order to satiate a need that has led our environment to the breaking point. And now, Transcanada and those who seek to benefit from this destruction here wish to do so by constructing another pipeline through the heartland of this country directly threatening our water supply, our agriculture and our environment.
Starting tomorrow and going to Sept 3, people will be risking arrest in acts of peaceful civil disobedience outside the White House to tell President Obama NO regarding approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
(Caps for emphasis because this is important)
THIS IS NOW THE TIME THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA MUST HEAR YOU. THE WORLD WE ARE MAKING FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS DEPENDS ON OUR ACTIONS TODAY.
So even if all you can do is send an e-mail to the White House, you need to do it. Call, write, tweet, blog. But please, don't allow another ecocide to take place. We do have power in great numbers. We do have other energy choices. We CAN change things for the better (as the end of this video illustrates.)
But that won't happen unless we make noise by whatever means we have.
Kudos to those willing to be arrested for this important cause. I thank you, my child thanks you, I stand with you and I will do all in my power to be heard with you.
NO TO KEYSTONE XL.!This thread is just one of many that I will be starting in the next two weeks to... more
Ain’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08 buttons, and that’s what I’ve been doing. If you look closely, you might see them this weekend on the lapels of some of the global warming protesters holding a sit-in outside the White House.
Already, more than a thousand people have signed up to be arrested over two weeks beginning Aug. 20 — the biggest display of civil disobedience in the environmental movement in decades and one of the largest nonviolent direct actions since the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle back before Sept. 11. (Among the first 500 to sign up, the biggest cohort was born in the Truman administration, followed closely by FDR babies and Eisenhower kids. These seniors contradict the stereotype of greedy geezers who care only about their own future.)
The issue is simple: We want the president to block construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would carry oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico. We have, not surprisingly, concerns about potential spills and environmental degradation from construction of the pipeline. But those tar sands are also the second-largest pool of carbon in the atmosphere, behind only the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. If we tap into them in a big way, NASA climatologist James Hansen explained in a paper issued this summer, the emissions would mean it’s “essentially game over” for the climate. That’s why the executive directors of many environmental groups and 20 of the country’s leading climate scientists wrote letters asking people to head to Washington for the demonstrations. In scientific terms, it’s as close to a no-brainer as you can get.
But in political terms it may turn out to be a defining moment of the Obama years.
That’s because, for once, the president will get to make an important call all by himself. He has to sign a certificate of national interest before the border-crossing pipeline can be built. Under the relevant statutes, Congress is not involved, so he doesn’t need to stand up to the global-warming deniers calling the shots in the House.
But the president does need to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, which has done its best to influence the decision. Since the State Department plays a role in recommending a decision, the main pipeline company helpfully hired the former national deputy director of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign as its lead lobbyist. WikiLeaks documents emerged recently showing U.S. envoys conspiring with the oil industry to win favorable media coverage for tar sands oil. If you were a cynic, you’d say the fix was in.
Still, the final call rests with Barack Obama, who said the night that he clinched the Democratic nomination in June 2008 that his ascension would mark “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Now he gets a chance to prove that he meant it. In basketball terms, he’s alone at the top of the key — will he take the 20-foot jumper or pass the ball? It’s a rare, character-defining moment. Obama can’t escape it simply by saying that someone else will burn the oil if we don’t. Alberta is remote, and its only other possible pipeline route — to the Pacific and hence Asia — is tangled in litigation. That’s why the province’s energy minister told Canada’s Globe and Mail last month that without the Keystone pipeline Alberta would be “landlocked in bitumen,” the technical name for the heavy, gooey tar that is its chief export. Critics may argue otherwise, but Obama’s call is key; without it, that oil will stay in the ground for at least a while longer. Long enough, perhaps, that the planet will come fully to its senses about climate change.
It’s hard to predict what will happen. Earlier this summer Al Gore tossed up his hands in despair: “President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis,” Gore said. “He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks.” Yet it’s hard to give up on the image of the skinny senator from Illinois and the young people who were his most fervent supporters — young people who, according to pollsters, wanted a climate bill by a 5-to-1 margin. That didn’t happen, of course; for now, the Keystone pipeline is the best proxy we have for real presidential commitment to the global warming fight.
More at the linkAin’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08... more
More than 100 environmental activists from across the country descended Tuesday on the Montana Capitol to demand Gov. Brian Schweitzer rescind his support for the Keystone XL oil pipeline and ExxonMobil's megaload transportation project.
Approximately 70 of those activists filled the governor's reception room, where they pounded homemade drums and chanted slogans such as: "No pipeline, no oil, the Big Sky State's too good to spoil."
Two activists also scaled the flagpoles in front of the Capitol and strung up a banner that read "Pipelines spill, Exxon kills. Big oil out of Montana."
Six activists from the environmental groups Earth First! and Northern Rockies Rising Tide, including one activist from Great Falls, locked their hands together within a mock oil pipeline made of PVC plastic pipe and said they wouldn't leave willfully until Schweitzer met their demands.
Law enforcement officials cut the activists out of the pipes. The group of activists dispersed late in the afternoon after police arrested two men and three women who refused to leave and were chained together.
Group members said earlier in the day that they would not leave until Schweitzer, a Democrat, gave up his support for two major projects related to oil sands development in Canada: the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport Canadian oil sands crude to the Gulf of Mexico; and the "Kearl Module Transportation Project," which would ship about 200 massive Korean-built oil sands processing modules across Montana highways to the Kearl oil sands region in northern Alberta. That megaload project is slated to start later this year.
Schweitzer met with the activists for nearly 20 minutes in the reception room of his office, but ultimately refused their demands.
"I'm not prepared to do that today," Schweitzer said.
Members of the group told Schweitzer that last week's rupture of ExxonMobil's Silvertip pipeline — which poured an estimated 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River downstream of Laurel — is a prime example of why Schweitzer should "toss big oil out of Montana."
"We feel the Silvertip pipeline disaster on the Yellowstone is just a preview of what's to come if you continue to cater to big oil's interests and turn us into what would essentially be an energy extraction colony," said Missoula resident Max Granger of Northern Rockies Rising Tide, a group that has led protests against the Kearl Oil Sands project and the development of the Otter Creek coal tracts in Eastern Montana.
After listening to the protesters complaints and demands, the governor said he hoped the environmental activists would put their passion toward ending the nation's addiction to foreign oil.
"I will say to you that this country uses an inordinate quantity of hydrocarbons. I would say to you that 25% of all the oil that's consumed in the world is consumed by us — you, me," Schweitzer said.
Protesters cut off Schweitzer several times during the 20 minute meeting before one activist began playing a honky-tonk tune on a piano in the reception room. At that point more than a dozen protesters jumped onto the large meeting room tables and began dancing and chanting.
In a news release, Northern Rockies Rising Tide criticized Schweitzer for publicly chastising ExxonMobil while continuing to promote the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, megaload shipments bound for the Alberta oil sands and other "extreme fossil-fuel projects" throughout the state.
more at the linkMore than 100 environmental activists from across the country descended Tuesday on the... more
Last week, eleven veterans of the environmental movement issued an open letter to Canadians and Americans inviting them to participate in a massive public protest of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion.
The letter’s signatories, which include David Suzuki, Bill McKibben, and Wendell Berry and climate scientist James Hansen, say that the time has come to move from letter writing and petition signing to something that’s more likely to get the government’s attention: civil disobedience at the nation’s capital.
The invitation can be read in its entirety at tarsandsaction.org, but here are a few choice excerpts (emphasis and links added):
As you know, the planet is steadily warming: 2010 was the warmest year on record, and we’ve seen the resulting chaos in almost every corner of the earth.
And as you also know, our democracy is increasingly controlled by special interests interested only in their short-term profit.
These two trends collide this summer in Washington, where the State Department and the White House have to decide whether to grant a certificate of ‘national interest’ to some of the biggest fossil fuel players on earth. These corporations want to build the so-called ‘Keystone XL Pipeline’ from Canada’s tar sands to Texas refineries.
The pipeline crosses crucial areas like the Oglalla Aquifer where a spill would be disastrous—and though the pipeline companies insist they are using ‘state of the art’ technologies that should leak only once every 7 years, the precursor pipeline and its pumping stations have leaked a dozen times in the past year. These local impacts alone would be cause enough to block such a plan. But the Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous.
And Secretary of State Clinton has already said she’s ‘inclined’ to recommend the pipeline go forward. Partly it’s because of the political commotion over high gas prices, though more tar sands oil would do nothing to change that picture. But it’s also because of intense pressure from industry. The US Chamber of Commerce—a bigger funder of political campaigns than the RNC and DNC combined—has demanded that the administration “move quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline,” which is not so surprising—they’ve also told the U.S. EPA that if the planet warms that will be okay because humans can ‘adapt their physiology’ to cope. The Koch Brothers, needless to say, are also backing the plan, and may reap huge profits from it.
So we’re pretty sure that without serious pressure the Keystone Pipeline will get its permit from Washington.
This won’t be a one-shot day of action. We plan for it to continue for several weeks, till the administration understands we won’t go away. Not all of us can actually get arrested—half the signatories to this letter live in Canada, and might well find our entry into the U.S. barred. But we will be making plans for sympathy demonstrations outside Canadian consulates in the U.S., and U.S. consulates in Canada—the decision-makers need to know they’re being watched.
Twenty years of patiently explaining the climate crisis to our leaders hasn’t worked. Maybe moral witness will help. You have to start somewhere, and we choose here and now.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/environmental-leaders-encourage-civil-disobedience-to-stop-keystone-xl-pipeline.html#ixzz1R0IzA3Vn
more at the link
I say, hell yes.Last week, eleven veterans of the environmental movement issued an open letter to... more
Congress took a first step on Wednesday to fast-track a controversial Alberta tar sands pipeline, ordering Barack Obama to reach a decision on the project by 1 November.
The bill, voted through a panel of the house energy and power subcommittee, would compel Obama to over-rule demands for a further review of the project from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and disregard local opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline from landowners along its 1,700-mile route.
Republicans in Congress are planning further action to push ahead on the pipeline next week, environmentalists said.
Senator James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is the main force among climate change sceptic in Congress, is working on a bill that would repeal a 2007 provision restricing the federal government's use of high-carbon fuels, such as those from the Alberta tar sands.
Between them, the actions are aimed at cutting off growing opposition to the pipeline – before it sinks the project.
The pipeline is intended to pass through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska before reaching the refineries on the Gulf coast of Texas.
But a series of pipeline accidents - including the shutdown of the Keystone itself for several days this month because of a leak - have amplified fears about transporting highly corrosive thick crude across the American heartland to the refineries of Texas.
Democrats said the accidents were a powerful reason not to rush to approval. "I don't think it makes any sense to set some kind of arbitrary deadline," said Henry Waxman, the ranking Democrat.
But Republicans said the pipeline was already three years in the planning, and that its construction would end America's reliance on Middle Eastern oil. "It makes perfect sense," said Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
More than 100,000 people wrote to the State Department this month to express their views on the project. Nebraska state legislaters and members of Congress have also written letters of concern.
Meanwhile the EPA issued a letter last week criticising the State Department for failing to fully take into account the risks of a pipeline accident, or of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the import of more fossil fuels.
Supporters of the project have been active as well, pushed in part by a new report suggesting the pipeline was running out of time.
cont.Congress took a first step on Wednesday to fast-track a controversial Alberta tar... more
On April 22, the U.S. State Department released a supplemental environmental review for a proposed pipeline that would funnel 700,000 barrels of oil per day 2,750 kilometers (1,710 miles) from Canada’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas. The department completed the supplemental review after its initial draft, released in April 2010, was given the lowest possible rating of “inadequate” by the Environmental Protection Agency.
In the year since, U.S. senators, state representatives, and various national, state, and local interest groups also have requested a more detailed review of the safety of the Keystone XL pipeline and its effects on land use and water resources. The route proposed by TransCanada, the project developer, cuts across the High Plains Aquifer System, one of the world’s largest aquifers and the water source for 2.8 million people and nearly 5.3 million hectares (13 million acres) of irrigated farmland.
However, the supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) has not alleviated those concerns, especially in Nebraska where the $US 7 billion pipeline would cross two primary units of the High Plains Aquifer—the Ogallala and the Sand Hills.
In a written statement, Nebraska’s Republican Senator Mike Johanns questioned the conclusions in the supplemental EIS.
“I was pleased that the State Department issued a supplemental EIS, which I had requested months ago,” Johanns wrote to Circle of Blue. “There is still much to review in the document, but the bottom line is that the State Department’s position doesn’t seem to have changed much. The State Department still thinks the best route goes through the Sand Hills, and I think that’s wrong.”
Though the supplement incorporates minor changes to the location of storage tanks and the intensity of pumping pressure, the new information “does not alter the conclusions reached in the draft EIS regarding the need for and the potential impacts of the proposed project,” according to the State Department’s supplemental EIS.
The State Department is the permitting agency because the pipeline crosses international boundaries. The department has already approved two pipelines from the tar sands to refineries in the U.S., both originating in Hardisty, Alberta. The 992-mile Alberta Clipper line ends at Superior, Wisconsin. The 1,600-kilometer (2,151-mile) Keystone line has terminals in Illinois and Oklahoma. The combined capacity is 1.4 million barrels per day, but the U.S. currently only imports 1.1 million barrels a day from the tar sands.
Potential for Pollution
The areas of greatest concern for water resources—pipeline spills and the location of the proposed route—seem to have been given superficial treatment, said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, the international director for the Natural Resources Defense Council and a tar sands specialist.
“My feeling is that, rather than really going into detail in areas and fleshing them out, they spent a lot of time and pages explaining why they didn’t need to go more in-depth,” Casey-Lefkowitz told Circle of Blue. She continued, saying that the State Department “seems to take the stance that an accident or spill is unlikely, so we don’t need to worry.”
But when it comes to unlikely accidents linked to energy sector, there are two striking examples over the last year: the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukushima partial meltdown in Japan. And, lest it be overshadowed by those monumental bookends, last June there was a spill from a pipeline carrying tar sands oil in southwestern Michigan, where more than 800,000 gallons of oil flowed into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River from a pipeline owned by Enbridge, a Canadian company.
To understand the potential for a pipeline spill, the physical properties of tar sands oil are important.On April 22, the U.S. State Department released a supplemental environmental review... more
In Canada's tar sands, giant oil corporations are turning huge tracts of pristine forest into a wasteland of open pit mines, smoke stacks and toxic lagoons. This pollution is causing cancer hot spots in indigenous communities downstream.
Now Big Oil wants to double imports of toxic tar sands oil into U.S. by building a new pipeline called the Keystone XL. This pipeline would endanger the health of communities and ecosystems all along its path from Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas.
President Obama has the final say. Please join us in calling on him to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and focus on clean, safe energy alternatives.In Canada's tar sands, giant oil corporations are turning huge tracts of pristine... more