Environment Magazine

Organized Resistance to the Tar Sands and XL Pipeline

Posted on the 14 December 2012 by Earth First! Newswire @efjournal

The Need for Immediate Strategy

by Stephanie Smith


The controversial Tar Sands and TransCanada XL pipeline face increased protest from affected local communities, environmental organizations and grassroots protestors. A recent report from the Canadian Association of Oil Producers shows that Tar Sands oil emits 9% more carbon than standard crude oil. The proposed pipeline , which would run from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico promises increased habitat destruction, oil leaks and carbon emissions.

On Dec. 3rd,  protestors barricaded themselves inside the XL Tar Sands pipeline and were forcibly removed by authorities.  This is the latest action in a series of moves aimed at stalling construction. For well over a month a tree village blockade has stood in the middle of a forest set to be cleared for the pipeline. And back in October, a 78 year old great-grandmother and land owner in the path of the project, Eleanor Fairchild, joined actress Daryl Hannah to block construction by standing in front of heavy equipment.  Both were arrested.

Even local levels of government have delayed construction for  sections of the pipeline until further investigation of environmental impacts are made clear. The blockade is preparing for more and larger actions with a training from January 3rd to 8th and they are asking people from all over to travel down to Texas to join them.

Recently, Diane Wilson, a fourth generation fisherwoman from Texas declared a hunger strike until the Valero Energy Corporation, which is headquartered in Texas, divests from Keystone XL.  

Diane Wilson in her house
“All my life the Gulf Coast has been an environmental sacrifice zone, and enough is enough. Keystone XL will bring the dirtiest fuel on the planet right down to the Gulf, where already overburdened communities like Manchester will be forced to suffer even more. After decades of toxic air in Manchester, I refuse to just let them continue to punish this community. I won’t eat until Valero divests from Keystone XL. ” –Diane Wilson

On Dec. 12th a Texas judge ruled that TransCanada must halt construction on a Southwest portion of the pipeline until a hearing to determines if Tar Sands Oil meats Texas standards for crude oil regulation. Resistance to the TransCanada pipeline is becoming more urgent in tactical organizing.

While individuals align personal acts of resistance with organized environmental protest, the Center for Biodiversity filed a Protest with the Bureau of Land Management against approval of Shale and Tar Sands construction in Utah. The Protest calls for protection of 800,000 acres of land sanctioned for Tar Sands resource production.

The increased urgency in action comes as the recent UN Framework Convention on Climate in Doha yielded no immediate global strategy for reducing carbon emissions. Two-hundred countries signed on for a second round with the Kyoto Protocol. Still, reductions spelled out in the agreement accounts for only 15-20% of carbon emissions. The convention failed to address specific regulations for Tar Sands projects, which do not meet the conventions standards for emission reduction. Protest from the Center for Biodiversity, 350.org, and on the ground grassroots resisters implements an immediate strategy that the UN Framework Convention on Climate failed to manifest.

Read more information on the Protest filed by The Center for Biodiversity; check out the tree village blockade and other actions again the the XL Pipeline here and  against the Utah Tars Sands here.

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