(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) — The debate against the Keystone Pipeline heated up this past weekend as two traditionally opposed groups came together in an effort to defeat a project that threatens aquifers, sacred lands, and frankly, all life on Earth.
The Cowboy and Indian Alliance formed a new kind of CIA as they rode horses and marched through the streets of Washington, D.C. rallying against the pipeline and for green energy every step of the way.
If the KXL project is completed, it will be responsible for transporting the carbon-loaded bituminous tar sand deposits from Alberta, Canada over ecologically sensitive areas in the US including the Oglala aquifer. The deadly substance would ultimately make its way to the Gulf Coast where it would be refined and eventually shipped and sold around the world to such countries as Venezuela and China.
These tar sands are so carbon intensive to develop and refine that they make regular oil deposits look almost green – a point that was hammered home on EnviroNews by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legend Neil Young.
Young: Okay, so, 19 and a half pounds. The oil that’s in Alberta that’s going to come down the Keystone Pipeline, if it is okayed by President Obama, which I don’t think it will be, is three times that much, almost three times that much, so that would mean every gallon of gasoline burned by a car in China or in Asia, where the oil is going, would produce about 55 pounds of CO2, which is like turning a Toyota Celica into a Chevy Suburban or a bigger car.
Other heavy hitters like movie star Daryl Hannah and ex-Green Party vice presidential candidate Winona LaDuke were on the scene to lend their voice for the cause.
Hannah: All of these extreme extraction processes that Winona was just mentioning need to come to an end. This why we are talking about moving beyond the fossil fuel age, you know like, really creating a concerted effort to produce energy and food in a way that is not destructive to us and to all life. I mean we already have those tools at our disposal, we just aren’t employing them.
LaDuke: We got to an era of extreme extraction. We all pretty much slid through this fossil fuel era, and now we’ve kind of run out of stuff that is easy to get, so now we’re in this place where we’re blowing the top of mountain tops, like 500 of them. We’re drilling 20,000 feet under the ocean. We’re fracking every place we can possibly think about fracking, and we’re peeling back an area the size of Florida up in a pristine area of the Athabascan River Basin. That’s extreme, and we’re doing that because we’re addicted, and the reality is that addicts need to deal with their addiction, and addicts need to find a way out of their addiction.
Young said that the Keystone Pipeline looked like a serpent in Native American legends that threatens to destroy the world.
The pipeline would be transporting some of the most toxic crude oil on the planet, and with Trans Canada’s safety record under fire, experts and environmentalists alike say it will be impossible to keep the corrosive substance from leaking out of the pipe and into precious groundwater.
In what many are saying was a purely political move, President Barack Obama, just a few days before this weekend’s historic protest, kicked the can down the road on the hotly contested pipeline decision until after the mid-term elections later this year. Obama was nowhere to be seen at the Capitol last weekend as he had travelled to Asia in an effort to “rebalance” foreign policy in the region.
Some are convinced that Obama’s avoidance of the issue and his international trip were peculiarly timed, especially with mid-term elections rapidly approaching. With the arctic ice sheet now calving into the ocean at a horrifying pace and the climate conundrum heating up worldwide, many here are left wondering just how much longer Obama will continue to skirt the pipeline decision – a choice that seemed like a no-brainer to the tenacious cowboy and Indian activists here at the nations capitol.
Crystal Lameman: We are making history here, and the fact that every piece to a perfect solidarity puzzle is right here, and it gives me hope, and it gives me optimism for the future.
Jane Kleeb: You know the political class and the political pundits like to pretend that this is only a fight in D.C., but this week because of all the events we did, we shifted that power back into the pipeline route, where we have cowboys, farmers and ranchers and tribal communities saying to the President, “We don’t need your help; we need you to stand with us to say ‘no’ to the pipeline.”
Eriel Deranger: These pipelines aren’t simply just pipelines. These pipelines are attached to one of the world’s largest industrial projects on the planet, which is contributing to the contamination of my people’s ecosystems, our treaty territory, our traditional lands, our animals, our fish, our ducks, our games such as moose and caribou and bison, and our people are dying. Our people see cancers come into our community, and we see young people young people dying of autoimmune diseases and cancers that shouldn’t be seen in our community. Our fish are sick. Everything in our ecosystem is sick.
LaDuke: We’re calling on people of conscience to say something. This happens to be the place we all live, and you know, if you think you can live in a bubble and you can have either ecological amnesia or historical amnesia and pretend that these things aren’t happening, then you’re wrong.
In Washington, D.C. — Emerson Urry — EnviroNews USA