The movement to oppose Keystone XL is huge in
Dave Coles, President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ Union, spoke to 5000 people on Oct. 23, 2012, at the Defend Our Coast rally in Victoria, British Columbia, explaining why his members are “diametrically opposed” to Tar Sands pipelines that would extend to BC’s coast.
A representative of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers echoed those concerns, citing the loss of fisheries jobs in
following the Exxon Valdez oil
Most recently, the December-January upsurge of popular solidarity with aboriginal rights, voiced in part by the Idle No More movement, targeted federal government legislation to eliminate federal protection of lakes and waterways. Rallies held across the Canadian state also opposed pipeline construction to transport
crude to Alberta and other destinations. China
Opposition to XL unites everyone to the left of the Stephen Harper Tories. Where the unity fractures is over energy alternatives. Sadly, the labour-based New Democratic Party federal leader Thomas Mulcair argues for building a pipeline eastward to deliver the tarry fuel to Atlantic Canada, at a cost of billions, rather than invest the money in green energy options—climate change be damned.
dovetail with actions against the construction of
oil pipelines in the Canada . The most significant project is
the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry United States tar sands petroleum 1700 miles
through environmentally sensitive areas of the Alberta Midwest to refineries in . In January, hundreds of Native
Americans, including supporters of Idle No More, gathered at the state capitol
in Texas , to oppose the line, pointing out
that it would endanger their ancestral lands. Lincoln, Nebraska
On Jan. 26, some 1400 marched in
, to protest a proposal to move tar
sands oil via a pipeline through eastern Portland, Maine to ports in Canada New England.
And on Feb. 17, tar sands and the pipelines will be a major focus of the Forward on Climate mass rally in
The U.S. State Department is expected to release its
Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL pipeline very soon, and the
Obama administration will make its decision on the project later this year. Washington, D.C.
According to Oil Change International, emissions from tar sands extraction and upgrading are between 3.2 and 4.5 times higher than the equivalent emissions from production of conventional oil in
North America. On a life cycle basis, the average
gallon of tar sands bitumen-derived fuel embodies between 14 and 37 percent
more greenhouse gas emissions than the average gallon of fuel from conventional
Reasons to oppose pipelines and bitumen extraction do not stop there. Do you know the story of petcoke? It’s a leftover from refining tar sands bitumen. Petcoke is sold as coal, but since it is cheaper and dirtier, it helps keep coal-fired plants running and polluting our atmosphere. A ton of petcoke yields, on average, 53.6 percent more carbon dioxide than a ton of coal. The proven tar sands reserves of
will yield roughly 5 billion tons
of petcoke—enough to fully fuel 111 Canada coal plants to 2050. U.S.
The situation is critical. That is why socialists say: No to tar sands oil! No to the pipelines! Nationalize Big Oil under workers’ and community control. To combat climate change, governments should radically reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and implement a systematic plan for the development and use of sustainable green energy alternatives.
> The article above is by Barry Weisleder, and is reprinted from Socialist Action newspaper.