Tag Archives: canadian tar sands

Indigenous Resistance Grows Strong in Keystone XL Battle

17 May

By Crysbel Tejada and Betsy Catlin  / Waging Nonviolence (CC BY-SA


On cloudy days, heavy smoke fills the air of Ponca City, Okla., with grey smog that camouflages itself into the sky. The ConocoPhillips oil refinery that makes its home there uses overcast days as a disguise to release more toxins into the air. These toxins are brimming with benzene — a chemical that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, can cause leukemia, anemia and even decrease the size of women’s ovaries. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2008 the ConocoPhillips refinery released over 2,000 pounds of this chemical into the air in Ponca City.

“Of the maybe 800 of us that live locally, we have averaged over the last five to seven years maybe one funeral a week,” explained Casey Camp-Horinek, a Ponca woman and longtime activist. “Where we used to have dances every week, now most people are in mourning.” Continue reading

Trains Will Move Tar Sands Oil, if Keystone XL Doesn’t

19 Mar

by Eve Troeh / Marketplace.org

Members of the French underground sabotage German supply lines by blasting trains

Members of the French underground sabotage German supply lines by blasting trains

The State Department’s latest environmental impact report says building the Keystone XL pipeline would have no additional impact on climate change, because that oil will simply flow by train instead. Michael Levi at the Council on Foreign Relations says oil companies would prefer to send oil from the Canadian tar sands to refineries by pipeline because it’s cheaper. Pipelines cost about $5 per barrel of crude.

“But if it turns out they need to spend $20 a barrel to move it by rail, they’re going to do that instead of leaving this $100 a barrel oil in the ground,” he says.

Since railroads already carry tar sands oil, and plan to carry much more, it does not matter if the Keystone XL pipeline gets built, from a climate change perspective. That’s what the new State Department report says: that the tar sands oil is going to get transported and burned, and its greenhouse gases will go into the air, no matter what. But Anthony Swift with the Natural Resources Defense Council says canceling the pipeline buys more time. Continue reading