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Elizabeth Shope’s Blog

Cowboy Indian Alliance Sets Up Camp in DC, Says No Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Elizabeth Shope

Posted April 22, 2014 in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

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Today, the Cowboy Indian Alliance set up camp on the National Mall in Washington, DC with a ceremony, march with riders on horseback, and erection of a tipi on the mall—the beginning of a weeklong encampment and events calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and protect our lands, waters and climate. It was an honor to celebrate Earth Day by joining the march and bearing witness to the ceremonies and erection of the tipi.

Reject and Protect tipi credit Mike Hudema.jpg

Reject and Protect in front of Capitol credit Mike Hudema.jpg

Photo credits: Mike Hudema

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would bring 830,000 barrels per day of dangerous, dirty tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast from where most of it will be refined and exported. The tar sands cause more climate change pollution than conventionally produced fuels and are an environmental, public health, and human rights catastrophe where they are extracted, transported, and refined. Downstream from tar sands extraction sites in Alberta, people are experiencing high rates of rare cancers, which the Canadian government has tried to downplay – not surprising given the massive, leaching toxic waste lakes, several of which sit adjacent to the Athabasca River. Farmers, ranchers, tribes, and others along the pipeline route are at risk from pipeline spills, such as the million gallon Enbridge tar sands pipeline spill into the Kalamazoo River in 2010, which has cost more than $1 billion and is still not cleaned up, and the spill that sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of tar sands literally right across people’s yards in Mayflower, Arkansas. What’s more, many of the Gulf Coast refineries that would refine the tar sands that Keystone XL would transport are in regions that already are failing to meet air quality standards, causing a broad range of public health issues.  

The State Department – in charge of making the decision about Keystone XL – announced last Friday that it would take more time to determine more about the potential route through Nebraska. Regardless of the route choice, the tar sands are too damaging to land, air, water and climate, so it’s important that we send a strong signal to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.  

You can visit the encampment on the National Mall between 9th St. and 12th St. any day this week. If you’re in Washington, DC or can make it here, please join the Cowboy Indian Alliance, NRDC, Sierra Club, 350.org, Bold Nebraska, and others this Saturday, April 26 at 11 am for the culminating ceremony, march, and presentation of a hand-painted tipi to the Museum of the American Indian. You can find the full details of the week here. And, if you can’t make it to Washington, DC, you can still virtually stand with us, and call on President Obama reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline at www.stoptar.org.


Reject and Protect Day 1 Assembling Tipi 2 credit Mike Hudema.jpg

Reject and Protect Day 1 Assembling Tipi credit Mike Hudema.jpg

Assembling the tipi on the National Mall. Photo Credits: Mike Hudema

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Comments

AaronApr 30 2014 03:58 AM

Supporters of Keystone have used the tactic that is quite effective to ignorant folks, that is presenting the debate as a false choice or false dilemma. Just as advertisers do in their ads. They must create the perception that somehow you need their product, even if you were just fine before watching their ad. We don't "need" Keystone in America. How did we survive to become the greatest superpower in the world without the fabulous Keystone pipeline? How can we get up and function and live the American dream without the Keystone pipeline? How did we ever build a manufacturing empire and drive muscle cars and superhighways without the Keystone pipeline? Ridiculous right? It's like Walken and Ferrell in that SNL skit, " I need more cowbell", "I got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell", haha. I just hope Nebraskans get that they have thrived for generation after generation after generation without even the thought each day of "Oh my God, how are we gonna make it through the day without the Keystone pipeline?"haha
Obviously, it indicates terrible corruption in our government that they would even consider this in any way shape or form. Did Donald Trump get a Nobel in physics? 'cause he says there's no global warming. Hmm, I wonder who they should listen to, him, or a long list of eminent scientists and economists? It bothers me that people have to spend so much energy protesting something that should not even be considered by America in the first place.

A Proud CanadianApr 30 2014 11:06 PM

Aaron,

I’m a supporter of the Keystone Pipeline. You misrepresent me as I don’t use any “tactics” whatsoever. I just state facts and provide context for the discussion. I agree with you that you don’t “need” Keystone in America…… but I suggest why you would want it. Let me answer a few of your questions.

“How did we survive to become the greatest superpower in the world without the fabulous Keystone pipeline?”
You did it with hard work and on the back of abundant and cheap energy. Plenty of oil and coal. You racked up quite a bit of debt along the way as well. You didn’t need Keystone for that but you did need oil. You built refineries to refine that oil into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other feedstock for plastics/etc…….

“How can we get up and function and live the American dream without the Keystone pipeline? How did we ever build a manufacturing empire and drive muscle cars and superhighways without the Keystone pipeline? Ridiculous right?”
You can! Continue to produce your own oil. Continue to import oil from OPEC countries. The American dream can continue. Sometimes that dream goes a bit sideways with wars in the middle-east and such but hey….. part of the dream right?

“Did Donald Trump get a Nobel in physics? 'cause he says there's no global warming. Hmm, I wonder who they should listen to, him, or a long list of eminent scientists and economists?”
Donald Trump did not get a Nobel in physics. He did receive an award from the IPHP (international panel on hair pieces).

Aaron, you write about choices and this is your choice…… Take the oil for your refineries from Canada or OPEC.
Drive your muscle car without funding a sheik’s gold plated BMW (oh yes and his Al Qaeda buddies as well)

Finally I think that you are connecting Canadian oil to global warming where there is no direct connection. Your State Department has analyzed this and concluded the same.
This is the false choice that folks at the NRDC and other green-institutions keep giving folks. They have calculated that by giving you this false choice, “environmentalism” can be saved (not necessarily the environment).

Regards,
A Proud Canadian

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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