Corrupting the Future: Senators, Tar Sands, and the Keystone XL


As Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline draws nearer, the pressure is mounting for the public to put forth a serious and decisive resistance.  The tar sands, along with fracking, represent some of the most ignorantly destructive energy practices to date (see more info here: Tar Sands).  On top of being environmentally disastrous, exploiting the tar sands serves to maintain –or usually increase— inequality in our society.  Exploiting the tar sands puts money in the pockets of the already rich oil companies and the politicians reaping the rewards of corporate lobbies, while it robs local peoples (both indigenous and non-indigenous) of their resources, exploits their labour, and leaves the environments they live in in disarray, causing adverse health effects.

321445_10151348877397708_697098527_n53 Senators sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday, January 23rd, urging him to approve the Keystone XL.  This letter was sent one day after the governor of Nebraska approved a new route for the pipeline away from “ecologically sensitive areas”, to the dismay of many Nebraskans.  The Senators who signed this letter are, not surprisingly, those who have received the largest campaign contributions from Big Oil:  Pro-Keystone XL Letter Dripping in Fossil Fuel Money

Luckily, people across North America are not all ready to let ‘the few’ get rich by dispossessing ‘the many’.  On January 23rd, people stood up across New England to oppose Exxon Mobil’s plan to move tar sands fuel across Ontario, Quebec, and into Maine.  There is a march planned for Saturday, January 26th in Portland, Maine starting in Monument Square at 11:30 (Sign Up for TS Action).


New England protest, Jan 23rd

There is also a massive Day of Action planned for Washington, DC on February 17th, which has tremendous support thus far but still needs all the backing it can get: Join the #ForwardOnClimate Rally on 2/17!

‘Protect the Sacred’ is another fantastic movement is coming together across the US and Canada to protest the tar sands and the Keystone XL in South Dakota.  ‘Protect the Sacred’ unites the struggles for peace, environmental protection and indigenous rights across North America with the plight of American ranchers and farmers whose land and waters are being threatened or overtaken by oil development.  Americans across the Southern US have been protesting the Keystone XL since its inception, as TransCanada planned a pipeline route that would cut through and damage peoples’ homelands.  ‘Protect the Sacred’ unites their struggle with First Nations groups whose treaty rights are being violated by the construction of the Keystone XL (along with the Idle No More movement in Canada).  More information can be found here: ‘Protect the Sacred’ gathering of Indigenous Nations to draft new treaty opposing pipelines


If we have any chance at building a sustainable and more equitable future, developing the tar sands as an energy source and allowing Big Oil to build the Keystone pipeline simply cannot occur.  This is therefore not a matter to take lightly, or to leave for other people to speak up about.  If we want to pass on a clean and just world to the next generations, the only option is to speak now –and work together now– to ensure that we build it.


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4 Comments on “Corrupting the Future: Senators, Tar Sands, and the Keystone XL”

  1. Smitty January 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    kudos to for organizing the DC action. i hope there’s a good turn out and Obama actually keeps his promise to take climate change seriously.

    • utopiandreaming January 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

      Agreed! He promised to take action in his inauguration speech, so hopefully there is enough public support to make him truly commit to that.

      • Smitty January 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

        the campaign figures for the Senators are pretty discouraging, though… that’s really what’s wrong with this system.

  2. utopiandreaming January 26, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Definitely. Can’t argue that.

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