Anti-tar-sands protests escalated last week, aiming to block both the Keystone XL and the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines. In the U.S. and Canada, activists staged more than 50 actions — raucous marches, another sit-in outside the White House, and a full-on blockade of a refinery, altogether resulting in more than 50 arrests and at least one restraining order. There was even a light brigade in Tampa, Fla.!
And, marking a new front in the war, activists broadened their scope beyond oil and pipeline companies to include firms investing in tar-sands projects, like TD Bank, a major financier of Keystone. “We will demonstrate to companies bankrolling KXL that their investments are as toxic as the tar sands they want to pump through the pipeline,” the Tar Sands Blockade group said in a statement.
Native American and First Nations leaders also made headlines last week by coming out strongly against tar-sands pipelines. From the Global Post:
Canadian and US indigenous leaders gathered in Ottawa on Wednesday in opposition to building pipelines to move Canadian tar sands oil across their traditional lands, citing environmental concerns.
Chiefs from 10 tribes delivered a message at a press conference: “Tar sands pipelines will not pass through (our) collective territories under any conditions or circumstances.”
They also pledged mutual support for one another in their respective court battles and “a long, hot summer” of protests against four Enbridge Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain, Trans Canada Keystone XL and Enbridge Line 9 pipelines.
Maybe you think more political pressure is what’s needed. Then join 350.org’s “rapid responder” Keystone webinar on Thursday to make plans for keeping the heat on President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and key senators.
Or maybe you’d just like to tell the State Department how you personally feel about this tar-sands thing. You can submit comments on the department’s draft environmental impact statement for Keystone until April 14; check out the EIS and then email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. You won’t be able to see other people’s comments, though, because State doesn’t plan to make them public. For that, you’ll need a formal Freedom of Information Act request, a lot of patience, and maybe an account at the new FOIA Machine project.