Pages tagged "enbridge"


Canada Approves Northern Gateway Pipeline, Opponents Vow Fierce Resistance

"We will defend our territories whatever the costs may be."

— Alliance of 31 First Nations

This week, despite broad public opposition, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper approved Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. The Northern Gateway pipeline, seen as a backup option to the Keystone XL pipeline that is currently mired down in a political quagmire in the U.S., would ship 500,000 barrels of bitumen a day through British Columbia to the Pacific coast.

The approval sparked loud protest from First Nations groups and environmentalists. Opposition to Enbridge has already been heightened in British Columbia and with the Harper government’s announcement, opponents took to the streets of Vancouver and promised fierce resistance to the pipeline.

enbridge

First Nations groups in Canada, which have long fought the pipeline, vowed to defend their land and their sovereignty with no surrender. In an unprecedented show of unity, 31 First Nations and tribal councils have signed a letter announcing their intention to "vigorously pursue all lawful means to stop the Enbridge project."

Furthermore the Uni’stot’en Clan has maintained a blockade encampment in the path of Enbridge and other proposed pipelines on their territory in British Columbia since 2009. Upon the Northern Gateway announcement they stated they “are prepared to continue to defend their territories against the incursion of government and industry.”

The environmental left has also vowed to fight back against Northern Gateway.  Direct actions, protests and legal battles are being planned to stop the pipeline.

Immediately after the announcement,  environmentalists launched sit-ins in Member of Parliament offices in opposition to the decision. Four were arrested at the office of James Moore, Conservative MP and Minister of Industry.

One of the four was Jackie DeRoo, MBA, a mother and retired businesswoman: “I'd never even been to a protest until Northern Gateway came along and I began to learn about climate change,” she said. “If ordinary citizens like me are willing to get arrested to stop this project, Harper can expect blockades that will make Clayoquot look like a picnic.

At the same time as the Northern Gateway pipeline and Keystone XL campaigns,  Enbridge have lobbied for a system of pipelines to send hundreds of thousands of barrels of tar sands south to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Enbridge has multiple pipelines proposed in the United States.

The oil giants are not backing off on draining the Alberta tar sands of every last drop of oil. Nor should the opposition back off in the slightest.

Photo: Direct action at Minister of Industry James Moore's office


Opponents Offer Fierce Resistance to Tar Sands, Enbridge and Keystone XL

[caption id="attachment_23108" align="alignleft" width="300"]Megaloads Picture via Portland Rising Tide[/caption] Don’t fool yourselves: Big Oil and Big Oil-friendly politicians aren't giving up on tar sands or any other dirty fossil fuels. The only thing that's gonna stop the tar sands and these pipelines is us. In 2011, we were all galvanized by the Tar Sands Action to draw a line in the sands on Keystone XL and the tar sands.  Over 1200 of us sent Obama a message to reject the Keystone pipeline’s permits with a sit-in at the White House. The action subsequently propelled the pipeline into a national issue. In 2012, we were inspired by the courage of the folks behind Tar Sands Blockade, who put their bodies and freedom on the line with tree blockades and lockdowns inside the Keystone XL pipeline itself. Dozens were arrested in the campaign to stop the southern leg of Keystone XL. Many were brutalized by police, charged with felonies, and faced civil litigation at the hands of Canadian oil giant TransCanada. Now with an ever-expanding web of pipelines and refinery upgrades to drain the Alberta tar sands, the stakes are only getting higher. The Keystone XL pipeline, the Enbridge pipeline, the Energy East pipeline, and dozens of other related projects are quickly becoming the new fronts against devastating fossil fuel extraction and climate change. They are being met with fierce opposition. Oglala Sioux In South Dakota, referring to Keystone XL as the “black snake pipeline,” the Oglala Sioux nation and its allies have committed to stopping the pipeline’s construction on their territory if Obama approves the project. In response to the US State Department’s recently released environmental report, Oglala Sioux president Bryan Brewer, along with organizations Honour the Earth, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred, released a statement declaring they will stand with the Lakota people to block the pipeline. While organizers have said they want to keep their strategy a secret, they’re considering everything from vigils to civil disobedience to blockades to thwart the moving of construction equipment and the delivery of materials. Moccasins on the Ground, an Indigenous-led direct action training group, has laid the groundwork for the past two years with non-violent direct action trainings in these communities. “We’re going to do everything we possibly can,” said Greg Grey Cloud of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Grey Cloud said tribes are considering setting up encampments to follow the construction, but he stressed that any actions would be peaceful. This past weekend, the Oglala Sioux sponsored a two-day strategy conference and training session in Rapid City, called “Help Save Mother Earth from the Keystone Pipeline.” Megaloads Since 2010, oil companies like Exxon have transported massive pieces of oil refining equipment from South Korea to Portland, OR via ship. They then send them up the Snake and Columbia Rivers by barge to different ports in Oregon and Idaho. After that, they truck them, via huge house-sized trucks known as “megaloads,” to Alberta over Oregon, Idaho and Montana’s scenic highways and byways. The oil industry has used every trick and loophole in the book to move that equipment and build out their infrastructure in Alberta. Residents have responded not just with pressure on regulatory agencies and lawsuits, but also with nonviolent direct action. Since 2011, activists led by Indigenous organizations and Rising Tide chapters in Idaho, Washington, Montana and Oregon have led a campaign to block the tar sands megaloads on the back roads of the Pacific Northwest. In December, Oregon activists successfully blocked megaloads for multiple nights. More megaloads are scheduled for delivery and more actions are planned throughout the region. MICATS Last summer, the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands, or MICATS, took a courageous stand against tar sands oil in Michigan. Over twenty activists were detained while shutting down the construction of Enbridge's line 6B tar sands pipeline.  Three of them—Vicci Hamlin, Lisa Leggio and Barbara Carter, a.k.a. the MICATS 3—locked themselves to machinery to augment the occupation. Last month, after a brief trial, these three women were convicted of felonies for their actions. Immediately after their conviction, Judge William Collette revoked their bond and had them returned to custody until sentencing on March 5th. They are facing up to three years in prison for peaceful actions protecting their community and their world. The prosecution and conviction of the MICATS 3 highlights the lengths that oil companies and its allies will go to silence any dissent. The MICATS 3's potential jail time highlights the determination of climate and anti-extraction activists to stop the destruction. In 2011, Wild Idaho Rising Tide put out this call to action: “Keep up your creativity and resolve under pressure, dear comrades! Allies elsewhere, we are under escalating siege and need you by our sides, either physically or fiscally.” The words still ring true. Whether Michigan, South Dakota, or Idaho, the fight against tar sands infrastructure is only escalating and it needs all of us. If you want to get involved and don't live near any of these infrastructure projects, then sign the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance and find an action near you. Over 76,000 have pledged to put their bodies on the line to stop Keystone XL and our voices are only getting louder.

Enbridge Deal Raises A $203 Million Question

[caption id="attachment_14021" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo: NYTimes.com"]Photo: NYTimes.com[/caption] Enbridge, the company responsible for the worst oil spill in Michigan state history, is now enlisting Wall St. to help foot the bill for cleaning up its mess — which means the banks backing the $203 million deal have some explaining to do. Last July, an aging pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy Partners ruptured near Marshall Mich., spilling nearly 900,000 gallons of tar sands crude.  The toxic ooze ultimately coated 37 miles of the Kalamazoo River watershed, forcing local residents from their homes and sickening hundreds of others. Enbridge is facing Federal charges of criminal negligence and the area remains closed even to property owners due to ongoing contamination. This was not an isolated incident. Enbridge was also responsible for two other major spills in Illinois and Canada's North West Territories within the same year. On Monday, Enbridge announced that it is offering investors a $203 million equity stake in its U.S. pipelines business, in part to pay off its debts. According to regulatory filings, Bank of America will lead the deal, joined by 10 other banks, including RBC. All of which begs the question: Are bank commitments just words on paper? The deal raises big questions about whether these banks are taking their environmental commitments seriously. Just for example, take BofA and RBC. Like many banks, both tout recently minted environmental policies that supposedly apply special "due dilligence" procedures to ensure that all clients meet the banks' environmental standards. Bank of America claims they "consider environmental sensitivity an important component of our credit, investment, underwriting and payment procedures." Last year, we applauded RBC for developing a new policy including new underwriting safeguards aimed specifically at protecting water quality. Both banks also maintain that their policies require clients to comply with environmental laws and regulations. A bright light on Enbridge So then, what about Enbridge? Beyond the debacle unfolding in Michigan, the company has a long record of safety violations. Last August, federal officials announced more than $2.4 million in civil fines against the company for maintenance and safety problems in Minnesota, Louisiana and Oklahoma dating back to 2006. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, "two Enbridge employees were killed when repairs to an Enbridge pipeline on their Lakehead system in Clearbrook, Minn. caused leaking crude oil to ignite." The investigation "found Enbridge failed to safely and adequately perform maintenance and repair activities, clear the designated work area from possible sources of ignition, and hire properly trained and qualified workers." If RBC, BofA and other banks involved in this deal want to maintain a shred of credibility on "corporate social responsibility," they have some explaining to do.

Banks on Notice: Dump Enbridge!

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Geraldine Thomas-Flurer at the BMO Shareholder meeting in Vancouver"]Geraldine Thomas-Flurer at the BMO Shareholder meeting in Vancouver[/caption] As Canadians were casting their votes in the Federal Election, another important decision was playing out in the board rooms of Canada's top banks: what to do with Enbridge, sponsor of the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Over the last several weeks, RAN  teamed up with First Nations of the Yinka Dene Alliance to put senior banking executives on notice as they gathered for this season's round of annual shareholder meetings. The message? First Nations are rights-holders, not stakeholders. Here's how they reacted (each bank's name is followed by the total amount of funds raised for Enbridge since 2007):
  • Bank of Montreal: $286 million
Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, Ann Ketlo and Jasmine Thomas of the Yinka Dene Alliance pressed CEO Bill Downe to dump Enbridge and update long-outdated policies on human rights and the environment. Downe invited them to a meeting to discuss community concerns. More than 50 supporters rallied outside.
  • Toronto Dominion: $5 billion
CEO Edmond Clark accepted the invitation of Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik'uz First Nation to visit her community. He also pledged to to uphold the bank's recognition of Indigenous Rights based on Free Prior Informed Consent. (See this video of the exchange, starts at 64:32.)
  • Scotiabank: $10 billion (!)
No comment from CEO Rick Waugh after a moving speech by Jasmine Thomas, a youth representing the Yinka Dene Alliance. (Listen to her presentation at this link, starts at 1:58:20). Scotia's written response to the Alliance was equally vague.
  • CIBC: $220 million
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="414" caption="Jasmine Thomas and Supporters at the CIBC AGM in Winnipeg"]Jasmine Thomas and Supporters at the CIBC AGM in Winnipeg[/caption] Unlike the other banks, CIBC hasn't responded to a letter from Chiefs of the Yinka Dene Member Nations raising concerns about Enbridge. This despite (or maybe because of) Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel's position on the bank's Board. After Jasmine's remarks, Board Chair Charles Sirois also failed to say anything of substance (catch the meeting here). RBC has also been a big fundraiser for Enbridge (as in $1.5 billion raised since 2007), but didn't get a visit from the Yinka Dene Alliance or RAN. We opted out this year as a sign of good faith in RBC's new policy announced in December. The policy ostensibly requires the bank to consider whether clients obtain free, prior, informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous communities impacted by client activities. How this policy will apply to Enbridge remains to be seen. Learn more about why FPIC is important here. Learn more about the Yinka Dene Alliance here.

RBS Still Mired In Tar Sands

RBS out of the tar sands!Last Summer we had a rather public row with RBS over its role in bankrolling fossil fuel expansion. Since then, the Bank's PR team has been working overtime to clear the bank's name — even releasing a 10-page report dedicated to the topic. Trouble is, its bankers continue to close lucrative deals in the tar sands — even opening a shiny new office in Calgary. Those bankers have been busy. All told, RBS has raised more than $9.2 billion for companies operating in the tar sands since it was bailed out by British taxpayers in 2008. More than $2 billion of that total was raised just in the last six months since the bank produced it's glossy report. Let's look into the deals RBS brokered in the last six months:
  • Enbridge: $ 100 Million
A proposed massive new pipeline from the tar sands through the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to a tanker port on the coast of British Columbia. RBS ran the books together with RBC, HSBC and Deutsche Bank on a $400 million bond issued by Enbridge last Septemeber. Each bank earned an estimated $87.5 million on the deal.
  • Kinder Morgan: $275 Million
A proposed a competing West-Coast pipeline through the Great Bear Rainforest. This one from the tar sands to a tanker port near Vancouver, BC. RBS led the bond deal in February.
  • BP: $950 million
Partnered with Husky to build a $2 billion tar sands strip mine forced-steam drilling project. And don't forget the Gulf Spill. RBS managed two giant bond deals for BP in October and March.
  • Statoil: $150 Million
RBS issued a revolving credit facility (think credit card) to Norway's state-owned oil company last December. Last month Norway's government paved the way for increasing Statoil's already substantial tar sands stake.
  • Total: $400 Million
French Oil company building a massive new tar sands strip mine. CEO says tar sands are the future: '"To justify our massive investments in the oil sands, we're looking at what the world will look like in 2020, 2025 or 2030," he told a reporter in 2009. RBS led the bond deal in January.
  • Marathon: $600 Million
The midwest oil refiner spent $2.2 billion to retool it's Detroit refinery to take more tar sands. Meanwhile, its neighbors are worried about more asthma and cancer. RBS led the bond deal in January. Was RBS alone in supporting these businesses? No. Many banks were involved. Do these companies do more than develop the tar sands? Yes they do. But is RBS any less culpable for using taxpayer money to finance tar sands? No it is not. Follow the Indigenous activists making that case at the Bank's shareholder meeting this week. *A note on numbers. All the numbers quoted here are pulled from Bloomberg, which ranks banks according to the value of deals they lead in a particular sector.  These numbers are the value of those deals, not the value of RBS ownership or interest in those securities.

A Bad Year for Dirty Energy

April 5th is the one-year anniversary of the disaster at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine, in which 29 coal miners lost their lives needlessly thanks to Massey’s disregard for worker safety in its reckless pursuit of profits. It was also something of a kickoff for what would turn out to be a really bad year for dirty energy — a year in which seemingly everything that could go wrong did go wrong, laying bare for all to see the inherent danger and unsustainability of continuing to rely on fossil fuels as sources of energy. Just fifteen days after the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine on April 5th, for instance, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, taking with it the lives of 11 men working on the drilling platform. The wellhead blowout led to a three-month long ordeal in which crude oil gushed uncontrollably into the Gulf, exposing once again the relaxed attitude towards worker and environmental safety held by purveyors of dirty energy. Now, a year later, we’re facing the specter of nuclear meltdown in Japan, a frightening capstone to what should serve as a year’s-worth of alarming wake up calls. But these of course were only the highest profile disasters that resulted from our reliance on dirty energy. The Atlantic recently compiled a long list of dirty energy disasters from the past year that should lay to rest once and for all the debate over our society’s energy future. Dirty energy disasters Here is a brief, by no means comprehensive list of the dirty energy disasters we witnessed last year alone. This draws from The Atlantic’s list some, with additions by me and other RAN staffers.
  • April 5, 2010 – An explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia claimed the lives of 29 miners.
  • April 20, 2010BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig exploded and sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, claiming the lives of 11 workers and leading to an oil spill of over 200 million gallons.
  • May 8, 2010 – Two explosions at the Raspadskaya coal mine in Siberia claimed the lives of 91 miners.
  • June 17, 2010 – An explosion at a coal mine in Amaga, Colombia claimed the lives of 73 workers.
  • July 20, 2010 - China experienced its biggest oil spill ever – some 400,000 gallons – after pipelines exploded in Dalian Province.
  • July 26, 2010 – An Enbridge Pipeline burst, spilling 19,500 barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River — a record for the Midwest. The river remains closed.
  • August 10, 2010 – Five people lost their lives and another 50 were injured when a natural gas pipeline owned by PG&E exploded in San Bruno, CA, a suburb of San Francisco.
  • October 16, 2010 – At least 20 miners were killed by an explosion in a coal mine in Yuzhou, China.
  • November 21, 2010 – Some 87 workers were killed in the year’s worst coal-mining accident in China.
  • December 2, 2010 – A Chevron pipeline in Salt Lake City, UT burst, spilling 500 barrels of oil. Chevron actually had not one but TWO oil spills in Salt Lake City in 2010. Not only that, but the company had THREE oil spills in the space of one week in December 2010.
  • February 9, 2011 – A natural gas explosion in Mont Belvieu, TX claimed the life of one worker and led to a fire that burned for nearly an entire day.
  • February 10, 2011 – A natural gas explosion in Allentown, PA killed five people and destroyed eight homes.
  • March 11, 2011 – An earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the coast of Japan, dangerously destabilizing several of the country’s nuclear reactors. To date, workers are still trying to prevent total meltdowns of the reactor cores. But it wasn’t just nuclear energy that posed a problem in the aftermath of the earthquake: A fire at an oil refinery was sparked by the quake and raged for days, some times with 100-foot flames leaping into the air.
It couldn't be more obvious that now more than ever we need to redouble our efforts to ensure that our children are not held captive to these dirty energy sources of the 19th century. A bad year for dirty energy is actually really bad news for us all.

Bank of Montreal Confronted on Indigenous Rights

[caption id="attachment_12250" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Geraldine Thomas-Flurer"]Geraldine Thomas-Flurer. Photo by Amanda MacDonald.[/caption] CEO Bill Downe's unmistakable message at today's Shareholder Meeting was that Bank of Montreal has changed. During his 10 minute speech, "change" showed up 14 times! The "world has changed" he declared. "Embrace change." "If there’s one thing I hope you take away from these remarks," he concluded, "it’s that BMO is changing." I half expected him to break into his best David Bowie: "Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch CHANGE-ES!!" Geraldine Thomas-Flurer had a very different message. She came to the meeting representing the Yinka Dene alliance, a union of five First Nations of British Columbia resisting a $5.5 billion tar sands oil pipeline proposed to run directly through their traditional territory, threatening salmon runs that have defined her community for centuries. From Geraldine's perspective, BMO looked as culpable today as it did in 2007, when the bank underwrote $286 million of credit to Enbridge, the company seeking to build the pipeline. (Check back soon for a link to her  speech to shareholders and those of Ann Ketlo and Jasmine Thomas, also from the Yinka Dene Alliance). In fact a review of BMO's public disclosures shows that the bank's Indigenous rights standards are essentially the same today as they were when the bank was founded in 1817—non-existent. So while BMO may be changing in some ways, it is falling behind in terms of its handling of Indigenous rights. Both TD Bank and Royal Bank of Canada have policies in place that affirm the right of First Nations to free, prior, informed consent over the use of their traditional lands and resources. It's time BMO made the change to do the same. Thanks to everyone who turned out to support the Yinka Dene, more than 50 of you by our count.  And thanks to Andrea MacDonald for her great photos of the rally.

Score: Three to Zip in Bad Day for Dirty Energy

Ambre Energy: Dirty, Dangerous and Obsolete Amidst a horrific week of news about Japan, there was some truly good news yesterday in the fight to keep dirty coal and oil out of our air, water and atmosphere. Ambre Energy was foiled in its effort to open a coal export terminal on the coast of the Pacific Northwest; TransCanada was delayed in spreading crude tar sands oil to the U.S. via the controversial Keystone XL pipeline; and oil giant Enbridge was dealt a deeply funny hoax by our friends the Yes Men. It is critical to remember, especially during such a dark week, that our movement is making major strides in the effort to build a clean energy future. Score 1: Ambre Energy Ltd said yesterday that it will surrender a permit to build a coal export terminal in Washington state after enormous opposition from those concerned about environmental and public health impacts. The proposed Longview export terminal would have shipped coal mined in Montana and Wyoming to Asia through the Columbia River in Washington. The cancellation of the Longview coal export terminal is critical in sending the message to the coal industry that we don’t want coal burned here and we don’t want it burned anywhere. As Ross Macfarlane, Senior Advisor for Climate Solutions put it:
“The profits were headed out of the country, but the health problems and pollution would have been here to stay. This idea of turning Washington into a way station for coal - which will pollute our atmosphere with tons of carbon dioxide and toxics - is a losing idea for our health and our economy.”
Score 2: Approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, which would pump crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to Texas refineries through a 1660 mile pipeline, has been delayed. Thanks to some serious political pressure from environmentalists in the U.S. and Canada, the Obama administration yesterday ordered additional environmental reviews of the $7 billion pipeline before making a final decision. As Kate Colarulli, Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Campaign Director, explained:
"We are very pleased that the State Department is taking a closer look at Keystone XL. Now we need to make sure they do a thorough job. If any foreign oil project requires close scrutiny by our government, it’s this one. This project would carry toxic, dangerous tar sands oil right through America’s heartland, putting our drinking water and farming at risk.”
Score 3. Early yesterday, the world learned of oil transport giant Enbridge’s strategy for handling inevitable oil spills along its proposed pipeline through pristine British Columbian wilderness: mop it up with human hair. The fake initiative, dubbed MyHairCares, was promoted in a Video News Release and ran in a number of major news outlets, but was pulled after a denial by Enbridge. Shannon McPhail, a former Canadian oil worker and Canadian spokesperson for People Enbridge Ruined in Michigan (PERM), the group responsible for MyHairCares (wink wink), said:
“This was a funny way to dramatize the fact that neither Enbridge nor any other oil company can prevent spills, and that they basically have no cleanup plan.”
Just last summer, an Enbridge pipeline spilled more than 800,000 gallons of oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River. Enbridge’s northern gateway pipeline proposes to ship oil from the Alberta tar sands to an export terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia. I must admit, it does feel good to score against dirty energy companies sometimes!

HSBC Takes a Step Away from Tar Sands

Image credit: EU Tar Sands Coalition This week, HSBC became the second international bank in as many months to take a step away from financing in the Tar Sands. The bank hinted in press reports last year that it was reviewing its tar sands business. Now the London-based bank has come through. In a post to its website, the bank quietly revised its "Energy Sector Policy" to clarify that:
HSBC has policy restrictions where customers are involved in the principal processes of mining, extraction and upgrading. We undertake a balanced analysis of positive and negative impacts to understand whether customers operate in accordance with good practice, focusing on factual data and trends where available. Specifically, we analyse: GHG intensity; water usage; land and tailings pond reclamation; the grievance process in place for local communities; and the extent to which a customer discloses standards and performance.
For the bank we ranked 13th among tar sands financiers last year, it ain't perfect. The new policy lacks any timelines, targets, or definitions. And the devil's always in those details. You have to wonder, for instance, about that "GHG intensity" commitment. Last year the banking giant underwrote $625 million in bonds for TransCanada. TransCanada is now facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory hurdles over it's proposed "Keystone XL" tar sands pipeline to Texas. In a request to delay approval of the pipeline, the EPA issued concerns that the product it would carry is  82% more GHG-intensive than conventional crude. The "local communities" commitment also raises questions. HSBC  raised $100 million in bonds for Enbridge last year. Enbridge is the company working with Chinese oil companies to push the "Northern Gateway" tar sands pipeline through the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to a tanker port in Northern British Columbia. More than 60 First Nation communities have declared their opposition to the project, calling it a violation of their rights and the integrity of their traditional territories. Pure greenwash? Only time will tell. And HSBC's dealings (or not) with Enbridge and TransCanada will be early indicators. Meantime, at the very least, the new HSBC policy is a welcome sign that banks are beginning to recognize that tar sands is a risky business. For those keeping score, international banks that have developed sector-specific policies that cover tar sands are (in chronological order):

Pelosi Visits Ottawa as Tar Sands Protests Flare

Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi is in Ottawa today and tomorrow meeting with both friends and foes of Canada's tar sands. RAN did our part to greet Madam Speaker on both coasts.  In Ottawa, we teamed up with LUSH Cosmetics and IEN for a bit of theater on the steps of Parliament (pics and more info on Flickr). We poured “oil” onto a model draped with the Canadian flag. Those pouring the oil were dressed as executives of TransCanada, the company proposing to build the Keystone XL Pipeline, which will run from the Alberta tar sands to the US Gulf Coast.Lush & RAN send a message to Nancy Pelosi & Prime Minister Harper about tar sands Meanwhile on the other coast in British Columbia, RAN's Eriel Deranger joined over 300 at a march in support of First Nations opposed to the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline in Prince George British Columbia.  The proposed pipeline would move up to 525,000 barrels of oil a day from the tar sands in northern Alberta to tanker port in Kitimat, BC.  The project would cross unceded territories claimed by over 20 First Nations.  It would also cross 785 watercourses, fragment wildlife habitat and impact fragile salmon fisheries.  Enbridge has a long history of pipeline spills and other accidents, including the one million gallon spill of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in July—one of the largest spills in U.S. history. The pipeline protests come just one week after a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that the tar sands industry is poisoning the Athabasca River. The study confirmed worries about elevated rates of cancers by communities downstream.

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