Tag Archive | keystone XL protest

Keystone Continued

25 Arrested at Keystone XL Pipeline Protest in Massachusetts

In the latest protest against the Keystone XL oil pipeline, 25 people were arrested after handcuffing themselves together inside a TransCanada office in Westborough, Massachusetts. More than 100 students, mothers and clergy members staged a “funeral for our future,” saying TransCanada’s pipeline would spur devastating climate change, pollution and potential spills.


Protesters: [singing] “They are digging us a hole. They are digging us a hole, six feet underground, where the pipeline will go.”

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry tar sands crude from Canada to Texas. A decision from President Obama on the project is expected soon, after a State Department review found it does not pose a serious threat to the environment. (this is from democracy now)

Climate Heroes

Kassia, Darla, Mac, Hidarius, Adder at Keystone XL protest

Kas, Darla, Mac, Hidarius, Adder at Keystone XL protest

It was a state of the art liberal protest.  There were no planned arrests at this action, to make it as accessible and low risk as possible.  Celebrates had been arrested the week before.  There were 34 people who got arrested after this big march of 45K participants.  

Nick "Taco" Stracco is interviewed by PBS. He carried a home made sign illustrating the threat that the Gulf Coast faces from sea level rise.








What made it state of the art were the websites for the planning and the giant TV screens at the base of the Washington Monument.

What made it liberal was the frequent appeals by the speakers to patriotism and American ingenuity.  There is nothing particularly American about climate change, this is a global problem.  

Forward on Climate And while leadership from the US would be great, we could be working on this from a non-nationalistic angle.  

But we are not – or at least the Sierra Club and 350.org are not, despite the Sierra Club’s recent historic decision to drop their policy against civil disobedience.

And for this protest, they are using all the tools of a classical domestic political campaign.  Senators spoke at the event.  The big call was for Obama to keep his promises.

I spoke with lots of people on the march.  I spoke to folks from Denton, Texas who are getting fracking banned locally and planning to appeal to the state Supreme Court to defend it.  I spoke to people from Wisconsin, who came 2 days in buses with 160 people, despite them having neither fracking nor Keystone issues at play.  I talked to students from Unity College which was the first to divest from dirty fossil fuels.  Brett Levin (right), a graduate of Tulane and former president of Green Club.
The bigger issue of climate change being a perhaps inescapable side effect of industrial capitalism was not a topic for discussion.

Why protest Keystone XL?

Some background on Keystone first.  It is an existing pipeline complex which moves tar sands from Alberta to the US–this is already happening.

Keystone Pipeline - source wikipedia

Keystone Pipeline – source wikipedia

The new pieces which are being protested in Washington on Feb 17th are the proposed Keystone XL “short cut” thru Montana and the extension from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast of Texas.  There are a number of things which are quite depressing about this project.

First is that it is quite popular among US Americans.  A Pew poll show 66% supporting the project.  I am not going to bother to report the Fox News poll results.pipeline-transcanda-537x402

And while Keystone XL is huge (transporting 830K barrels a day) it is actually dwarfed by other proposed TransCanada pipeline projects which are also (if you will excuse the pun) in the pipeline.


Converting and burning more tar sands will dramatically worsen the global climate situation.

The good news is that Obama and new Secretary of State Kerry can decide on this project without the US congress, because of its cross border nature.  And Obama has made speeches since re-election on the importance of working on climate change.  Kerry is a self described “climate hawk,” but first and foremost he is another corrupt politician who will support oil company profits over the environment when push comes to shove.

The ecological effects of Keystone XL are described in this NRDC brief.  The water contamination effects (for which there has already been some re-routing) are significant, because of the mix of high toxins in the tar sand.  But the reason that these protests are happening is the climate effects of burning this quantity of high carbon fuel.

Interestingly, Newspaper magnate Rupert Murdock opposes the project (and windmills) suggesting that domestic fracking is cheaper and easier.  This is important because his media will parrot his lines.

Come out and stop KXL

Come out and stop KXL

A number of stars got arrested earlier last week protesting Keystone XL.  Please come out, despite the bad weather.  If you are in the Death City area tomorrow come to this protest.