No Keystone XL occupies the State Department

  • Published on October 10th, 2011

bill mckibben at occupy state department for no keystone XL

In a crossover protest with members of Occupy Wall Street/Occupy DC – one which also had a very practical goal – climate activists demonstrating against the tar-sands oil pipeline camped out overnight for 14 hours in front of the State Department building.

More than just a dramatic way of getting their message to the media, the campout also doubled as an overnight line-up for the activists to get in to hearings held Friday on the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to carry dirty Canadian tar-sands oil to markets and refineries in the US. Because it crosses an international boundary, The State Department has to give final approval before the pipeline can move forward.

Candice Bernd reports for Campus Progress:

During the hearing, bleary-eyed members of Energy Action Coalition and other organizations spoke passionately about the negative impacts the pipeline would have on a large part of the country. Many addressed the idea of creating green jobs by building a sustainable infrastructure instead of creating dirty jobs through the pipeline; others asked why the State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement of the Keystone XL project was flawed.

“Every day I wake up and work for a vision in this country of a 100 percent clean energy economy that will create jobs for my generation when my generation is facing the largest unemployment since the Great Depression,” Energy Action Coalition member Ethan Nuss said during the State Department hearing on Friday…

“When the U.S. military itself talks about global climate change being the single greatest threat to our national security, even above that of terrorism, we simply cannot allow this [pipeline] to happen,” Nuss said.

Because the tar sands oil is particularly dirty, and has a huge environmental impact in Canada’s north, NASA scientist James Hansen has said that if the pipeline is approved, it’s “Game over” for climate change. There are also concerns that if the pipeline leaks (as has already happened with other tar-sands pipelines), it could contaminate the Oglala aquifer that provides a huge percentage of the water for America’s agricultural heartland, a disaster that would dwarf the Gulf Oil Spill.

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(Sierra Club photo)

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.