This week, hundreds of activists – including Greenpeace USA Executive Director Phil Radford – were arrested as part of a protest against the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. The protesters, many wearing ‘Environmentalists for Obama ‘08’ pins, set up in front of the White House to remind the president of his campaign promises. Phil’s arrest, along with hundreds of others, highlighted the devastating impact of the proposed pipeline as well the expectation of the president’s supporters that he exercise his power to put a stop to it.
While the Keystone XL pipeline is an important and pressing concern, it is just one aspect of the long running fight in the campaign for a cleaner, greener energy future. In fact, we’ve been protesting the tar sands oil project for years.
Tar sands will mean the destruction of ancient Boreal Forests; poisoning of our environment; and human health hazards at all stages of extraction.
And the final insult? It’s all for oil we can’t afford to burn. As James Hansen – along with 19 other eminent climate scientists – has stated, burning these fossil fuels could cause an irreversible and catastrophic acceleration of climate change.
If this issue has taught us anything, it’s that bad ideas die hard when vested interests are involved.
"Tar sands" refers to a mixture of bitumen – a very heavy crude – sand and clay that must be processed and refined at enormous cost to fuel and finances. Aside from the environment, the financial costs of production mean the Alberta government is forced to provide huge subsidies and incentives for development; subsidies that would be better used to provide a boost to far saner renewable energy alternatives.
With the opposition of the world’s most respected climate scientists, along with Nebraskan ranchers, communities around the dangerous refineries, leading environmental groups and many others, the decision should be simple. Move America and the world towards a cleaner, greener future and stop the Keystone XL pipeline.
Find out more about the dangers of tar sands oil.