Saturday, May 18, 2013

No peace pipe: Native American tribes on warpath over Keystone XL pipeline

Leaders from 11 Native American tribes stormed out of a meeting with US federal officials in Rapid City, South Dakota, to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which they say will lead to ‘environmental genocide.’
Native Americans are opposed to the 1,179-mile (1,897km) Keystone XL project, a system to transport tar sands oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in Texas for various reasons, including possible damage to sacred sites, pollution, and water contamination.
Although the planned pipeline would not pass directly through any Native American reservation, tribes in proximity to the proposed system say it will violate their traditional lands and that the environmental risks of the project are simply too great.

Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, the company that hopes to build the pipeline, has promised in the past that Keystone XL will be “the safest pipeline ever built.”
The Indian groups, as well as other activist organizations, doubt the claim, saying the risks involved in the project are too high.
In an effort to ease their concerns, officials from the Department of State agreed to meet with tribal leaders on Thursday in the Hilton Garden Inn in Rapid City, Michigan.
Before the talks could begin, however, tribal leaders walked out, angered that the government had sent what they considered low-level representatives.
In a press conference following the walkout, tribal leaders took turns criticizing the project, as well as the Obama administration.
"I will only meet with President Obama," Bryan Brewer, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, told the Rapid City Journal.
Others mentioned environmental concerns with the proposed pipeline, which echo the concern of environmental groups across the country.

President Barack Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline on March 22, 2012 in Cushing, Oklahoma (AFP Photo / Tom Pennington)
President Barack Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline on March 22, 2012 in Cushing, Oklahoma (AFP Photo / Tom Pennington)

Casey Camp-Horinek, an elder with the Southern Ponca Tribe based in Oklahoma, compared the pipeline and other environmental damage to the historical events that had decimated her people during European colonization.
"We find ourselves victims of another form of genocide, and it's environmental genocide, and it's caused by the extractive industries," she said.
Charles LoneChief, vice president of the Pawnee Business Council, headquartered in Oklahoma, said the public was misinformed about the pipeline's environmental risks.
Unlike a traditional crude oil pipeline, Keystone XL will pump oil that is collected from tar sands. To turn this substance into a transportable liquid, oil companies must add chemicals that environmental groups warn are highly toxic.
"That gets into our waterways, our water tables, our aquifers, then we have problems," LoneChief said.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that the Keystone XL pipeline will increase annual US carbon pollution emissions by up to 27.6 million metric tons – the impact of adding nearly 6 million cars on the road, according to the Environment News Service.
Robin LeBeau, a council representative for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe based in South Dakota, pledged to protest against any construction, even if that meant standing in front of bulldozers.
"What the State Department, what President Obama needs to hear from us, is that we are going to be taking direct action," she said.
I believe this is going to be one of the biggest battles we are ever going to have, LeBeau added.
This is not the first time that Native American groups have spoken out on the project.
Leaders from ten Canadian and US indigenous groups gathered in Ottawa, Ontario in March to protest the construction of pipelines.
“Tar sands pipelines will not pass through [our] collective territories under any conditions or circumstances,” the tribes said at a press conference.
.rt.com
18/5/13
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2 comments:

  1. Unlike Keystone XL, new tar sands pipeline gets expedited review thanks to State Dept. bypass....

    While the Keystone XL pipeline remains mired in controversy between oil interests and environmental advocacy groups, another tar sands pipeline that will run for hundreds of miles through the American midwest looks to be on the fast track for approval.

    With space on pipelines transporting oil sands from producers to refineries almost at capacity, Canada’s largest pipeline company Enbridge is looking to build a new 600-mile-long line that will carry Alberta oil sands from Flanagan, Illinois 100 miles southwest of Chicago to a terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma and then onto Gulf Coast refineries, reports the AP.

    Enbridge, perhaps hoping to avoid the delays that have hampered construction of Keystone XL, has sought an expedited permit review by the US Army Corps of Engineers for the planned Flanagan South pipeline.

    Doug Hayes, a lawyer working on behalf of Sierra Club, the environmental advocacy group, cites suspicions over Enbridge’s strategy of seeking regulatory approval for its new pipeline under the Nationwide 12 permit process, bypassing Clean Water Act requirements that include public notification and environmental reviews.

    By seeking approval for a pipeline that will ultimately run for hundreds of miles in smaller portions, the company would thus avoid regulations that apply to large utility projects with multiple water crossings.

    "This is a 600-mile project that will clear everything in its path for a 100-foot right of way, and they're treating it as thousands of separate, little projects," said Hayes.

    Legally, Flanagan South differs from Keystone XL in that the new extension will originate within US territory, thereby not requiring the same State Department approval. Environmental activists are apprehensive about the pipeline regardless, pointing to the Enbridge Michigan pipeline spill that dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo river three years ago.

    Mark DuCharme with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the massive clean up following that spill has been tough owing to the river’s water levels at the time of the pipeline’s eruption, which were at flood stage.

    "The river flooded up out of the banks, into the flood plain and extended out into people's properties," DuCharme told Michigan’s WLNS.

    In the hopes of reassuring homeowners and others regarding its new pipeline, Enbridge has scheduled a number of 'open houses' in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois in a bid to pitch the project to the public.

    The Flanagan South plan has attracted little public attention so far, with a handful of Sierra Club protesters turning up last week at one of the town meetings in Marshall, Kansas, 90 miles east of Kansas City.

    The massive pipeline corporation has been touting the number of short-term construction jobs to be brought in by the new project, which also resulted in prospective pipefitters showing up at the Marshall open house.

    Still, property owners in the region slated to be impacted by Enbridge’s new pipeline do not feel the company is being entirely forthcoming. ......http://rt.com/usa/keystone-new-tar-sands-pipeline-443/
    23/7/13

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  2. Obama conteste les arguments des partisans de l'oléoduc Keystone XL...

    Barack Obama a mis en doute, samedi 27 juillet, l'idée que l'oléoduc Keystone XL créera de nombreux emplois aux Etats-Unis, comme l'affirment les promoteurs de ce projet controversé.

    "Les républicains disent que cela générera beaucoup d'emplois", a déclaré le président américain dans une interview publiée samedi par le New York Times. "Rien ne prouve que cela soit vrai. Selon les estimations les plus réalistes, cela pourrait créer 2 000 emplois pendant la construction de l'oléoduc, ce qui pourrait prendre un an ou deux. Ensuite, on parle de 50 à 100 emplois dans une économie de 150 millions d'actifs."

    Présenté pour la première fois en 2008, le projet de TransCanada Corp. est de transporter 830 000 barils par jour de pétrole brut extrait des gisements de sables bitumineux canadiens et de la formation de Bakken, à cheval entre Dakota du Nord et Montana, jusqu'aux raffineries du golfe du Mexique. Le coût des travaux est évalué à 5,3 milliards de dollars.

    Les républicains et les milieux d'affaires font pression sur l'administration Obama pour qu'elle approuve Keystone XL, auquel s'opposent les défenseurs de l'environnement, en raison des émissions de gaz carbonique induites par le projet. Le mois dernier, le président américain a déclaré que l'oléoduc ne servirait les intérêts des Etats-Unis que s'il est prouvé qu'il n'aggrave pas la pollution de manière importante .Selon le Times, Barack Obama a laissé entendre que le Canada pourrait faire davantage pour "réduire les émissions de carbone". Le président américain conteste aussi l'argument selon lequel l'oléoduc fera baisser les prix de l'essence.

    La décision de l'administration Obama est attendue avant la fin de l'année ou début 2014.
    http://www.lemonde.fr/ameriques/article/2013/07/28/obama-conteste-les-arguments-des-partisans-de-l-oleoduc-keystone-xl_3454653_3222.html#xtor=RSS-3208
    28/7/13

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