Pressure Mounts Against the Keystone XL

Activists across North America are mobilizing and taking action against the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Last month, the pipeline had to go around an 85-day tree sit protest in Texas.  Last week, Keystone blockaders took to the trees once again 150 miles south, in Diboli, Texas.  Of course, Quoting Gandalf (“You shall not pass!”) was a great move.

East-Texas-Tree-Sit-Keystone-XL-Tar-Sands-Blockade

This week, protesters voiced their disapproval at two different TransCanada offices, the company attempting to build the pipeline.  In TransCanada’s Houston office, over 100 activists flooded the lobby, dancing, singing, chanting, using puppets, and otherwise making a scene.  They were (unsurprisingly) eventually kicked out by police, but their message carried across North America.

TransCanada Houston Office

TransCanada Houston Office

In Westborough, Massachusetts, 8 post-secondary and recent grad students sat down and chained themselves together inside TransCanada’s office.  They were soon unchained and arrested, of course, but these actions represent an escalation of tactics used against this dirty energy deal, and speak to the urgency of the issue –the need for public voices to speak up.

TransCanada Westborough Office

TransCanada Westborough Office

For more information on the Keystone XL and the tar sands, see The Absurdity of the Tar Sands and the Keystone XL.  The New York Times also posted this piece about how the oil sands are increasing carcinogens in Canadian lakes: Oil Sands Industry in Canada Tied to Higher Carcinogen Level.  The mentality that ‘oil equals jobs’, that capitalism should easily trump socio-environmental concerns, and that the tar sands ‘free us from the Middle East’ is antiquated at best.  Clearly, there are political and economic reasons that corporate-government partnerships are pushing the pipeline.  But alternative energies are certainly possible, as is prioritizing the good of the collective majority rather than an elite minority of oil tycoons –we simply have to be vocal enough.  We must exercise our democratic rights of free speech and tell those that we’ve awarded political power that we want change, progressive choices and alternatives rather than stagnation; holding onto old, dirty energy practices, polluting the places that we live, and increasingly depending on wealthy oil companies.

There are protests against the tar sands planned for January 23rd and 26th across New England, and a major day of action against the Keystone XL will occur on February 17th in Washington.  350.org is organizing this day of action, and it’s expected to draw over 20,000 people. Check it out, get involved: http://www.350.org/en/stop-keystone-xl

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