Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Keystone Pipeline pipe dreams can come true

On Feb. 3, there were 283 vigils in 49 states to protest the State Department's latest report regarding Keystone XL pipeline. One conclusion of the report was that the launch of the pipeline wouldn't significantly alter the equation regarding fossil fuel emissions and climate change.

In fact, the conclusion of the report seemed to surrender to the mining of the oil sands of Alberta; that it's going to happen regardless, so if it doesn't pour into the pipeline it will be transported on rails or on barges. One wonders if it will be transported on the backs of mules as well.

No matter how it is carried, it will spill. Spills happen. And they seem to be increasing. Now, I thought that was just me, until I found this story whose headline reads: "More oil spilled from trains in 2013 than in previous 4 decades." You could be George Bush and get the point of that story.

The extractions of the oil sands will without a doubt have an enormous impact on our ecosystem, and we know full well what the extraction process does to the surrounding environment.

So what to do? Here in Indianapolis, we participated with our own vigil, with a couple dozen of us in attendance. I held a sign that said "Obama Reject Keystone XL" and as people were driving around Monument Circle and honking at us, it was difficult to know whether they were supporting our effort or whether they thought we were "Obama Rejects," and thus perhaps of interest to the Tea Party.

We stood in the cold until a very nice police officer came over to us and suggested we move — actually walk around the Circle. This was a brilliant idea as we would resemble more of the protest/vigil we were going for, and we could perhaps prevent frostbite in the process. Really, I think he took pity on us as we were likely on the lame end of protestor numbers he's seen in the downtown area.

I self-deprecate, of course, but the truth is, I was darn proud of the over 25 of us who stepped up to try and put the "Keystone" meme into the everyday person's brain. It was fun, actually, and gets us into the mode for the more essential gatherings if Obama indeed says 'yes' to this destructive pipeline.

Some would call our effort a pipe dream. With almost three hundred actions, and tens of thousands of people across the country pledging to upgrade their civil actions, the resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline might just be a dream come true. It's about time; we need to win something for Mother Earth.

To join the resistance, go here. If you want to see a handy round up of stories about Keystone, go here.