Pages tagged "keystone"

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.


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

XL Dissent: "We Are Building A Culture of Resistance"

keystone_dc_protest_ccThis Sunday, over one thousand young people will descend on the White House. By the end of the day, hundreds of them, most of them students at more than 200 colleges and universities, will be arrested. There’s something happening here. Just days after a U.S. State Department review determined that ERM, an oil industry contractor and dues-paying member of the American Petroleum Institute, was capable of an unbiased review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, hundreds of youth activists will be risking arrest outside the White House as part of XL Dissent. Their objective is to secure a rejection of the climate-killing Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and to hold President Obama accountable for his campaign promise to safeguard climate stability by “end(ing) the tyranny of oil.” The stakes are high for both Obama’s Democratic Party and for these young people. Many commentators are quick to point out a well-worn political calculus: millennials helped elect Obama, and his party's success relies on their continued support (youth delivered 80 electoral votes for Obama in 2012, enough to swing the election in his favor). Indeed, many core XL Dissent student organizers cast their first votes for Obama in 2012. One student organizer took a year off college to work on his campaign. She'll be risking arrest this Sunday. [caption id="attachment_23179" align="alignright" width="150"]Evan Bell Evan Bell (Tufts ‘15)[/caption] Clearly, there’s a lot more at stake for the XL Dissenters than midterm vote counts. As the students are quick to point out, their very future is on the line. According to Evan Bell (Tufts ‘15), the prospect of Obama approving Keystone XL “horrifies me. I’m afraid the climate won’t support me, won’t support my children.” President Obama and D.C. policymakers need to take a hard look at who police will arrest this Sunday. Many of them were too young to vote in the 2012 election. Some of those arrested will still be in high school. XL Dissent should give Obama pause, and force the president to consider who loses if Big Oil wins. He should see his own daughters in the faces of those who are arrested at his doorstep this weekend. There’s a watershed quality to XL Dissent. While opposition to Keystone XL has been spurred by grassroots and indigenous resistance (see Tar Sands Blockade, Ogalala Sioux and others), national environmental organizations have played a major role in coordinating D.C. movement gatherings. XL Dissent is different, then, because it was conceived and organized from below, by the students themselves. As Evan Bell told me, “Every decision, message point, and recruitment effort has been led by a young person.” [caption id="attachment_23178" align="alignright" width="150"]Aly Johnson-Kurts Aly Johnson-Kurts (Smith ’16)[/caption] What’s more, these students are on a more radical footing than beltway organizations. Aly Johnson-Kurts (Smith ’16) told me “civil disobedience is necessary because of huge corporate power. The inside game isn’t going to work.” More and more, these young people are placing their hope in distributed networks of resistance, rather than in a president who ran on hope as a platform. They’re hovering in a space between fear, anger, and radical hope. They know their futures are on the line and feel more accountable to each other and frontline communities than elected politicians. “We’re building a culture of resistance,” Evan Bell told me. Thank goodness for XL Dissent. I know where my climate hope lies: with the dissenters. Go to to read about the action, donate, and see the faces of the XL Disent. And be sure to follow the action this Sunday. PS - One way to back up the students risking arrest at XL Dissent this weekend is to pledge to match their commitment. Sign the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance and join the civil disobedience movement to stop the pipeline.

3 Outrageous Claims the Media Is Making About Keystone XL

Here are the 3 most outrageous things the media is saying about the Keystone XL pipeline: “Tar sands oil will be developed and transported to the gulf coast, with or without a pipeline...” You can read the full #KXLBullshit from Newsweek here. The Keystone XL pipeline and the future development of tar sands is not inevitable, in fact to secure a stable climate, we must keep this dirty fuel in the ground. It’s clear to all of us that tar sands oil shouldn't be transported at all, by pipe or train or llama or bucket brigade! “It will create thousands of jobs and will have minor environmental impacts.” KXL_Badge You can read the full #KXLBullshit from Forbes here. Yes, a couple thousand jobs would be created temporarily to build it. After that, the consensus is that around 35 permanent jobs would be created in an economy of 150 million people. Does this factor in economic instability and displacement caused by climate change? No, because it’s pure #KXLBullshit. “Environmentalists get back to your serious work, the Keystone XL isn’t it.” You can read the Washington Post’s editorial board taking their work "seriously" here. Hey “Editorial Board,” what could be more serious than a thousand-mile-long tar sands pipeline that threatens millions of people’s water and contributes the equivalent of 6 million tailpipes-worth of climate pollution every year? Yeah, you get the coveted triple-starred #KXLBullshit award on this one. Have you seen any outrageous claims about Keystone XL in the media? If you do, call it out using the hashtag #KXLBullshit. Tell the State Department you think the entire thing is #KXLBullshit HERE.  

Citi Needs an Intervention

Addiction - noun \ə-ˈdik-shən, a-\: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful. (Merriam-Webster)
Citi Needs an InterventionCiti has a problem. Despite renewing its vows in 2009 to tackle "Environmental and Social Risk Management," including mountaintop removal coal mining, Citi is relapsing into fossil fuel addiction. Last year, Citi raised more than $34 billion for the coal and oil industries, but raised less than two percent of that amount for companies developing renewable energy like wind and solar. Dirty deals led by Citi last year included a $500 million bond issued by Transcanada, proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline. The $7 billion pipeline would carry crude oil strip-mined from Canada's tar sands 1,800 miles south to the Gulf States for refining. The project would triple US oil imports from the tar sands and threaten the largest fresh-water aquifer in the world, while keeping the United States addicted to oil for many decades to come. Citi also led the combination of Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources. At over $7 billion, the acquisition creates the largest mountaintop removal coal mining company in the country. MTR has devastated the Appalachian landscape and displaced hundreds of families from the region. Other low points from 2010 include raising $1.3 billion for BP and Transocean — the companies responsible for the Gulf oil spill. Citi needs to stop making excuses and denying that it has a problem. That's why RAN is staging an intervention. Today, people around the world are making a difference in all of our futures by picking up the phone and calling a banker at Citi. This is no email petition, we're actually putting our supporters on the phone with the bankers that need to know about Citi's financing of fossil fuels so that they can help their company change course. If you are a Citi employee reading this and want get in touch with RAN, please email

Keystone XL Won't Decrease "Unfriendly" Oil Imports Either

Image credit: Richard Saunders Yesterday, AP reported that the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to Texas won't decrease gas prices (I broke that story last month, but who's counting). In fact, a report commissioned by pipeline sponsor TransCanada now shows that connecting tar sands producers with Gulf Coast refiners actually pushes gas prices up for everybody. That same report contains another unreported secret: Keystone XL won't decrease so-called "unfriendly" oil imports either. According to the same 2008 report, if Keystone XL were completed in 2013, Gulf Coast "imports are forecast to decline initially before 2010... and then to increase by over 600,000 [barrels per day] by 2020." Why? Because Gulf Coast "Crude runs... are projected to grow by over 500,000 [barrels per day] by 2020." (See chart from the report, below). So while TransCanada's radio commercials claim that the "Transcanada Keystone Pipeline can reduce America’s dependence on  oil from unfriendly places, like Venezuela and the Middle East, by up to 20 percent," the company's own research shows otherwise. The chart below sums it up nicely. If we build XL, we'll continue importing just as much oil from Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and other "unfriendly sources," while dirty Canadian crudes will top off the tanks of expanding Gulf Coast refineries. Put another way, Keystone doesn't make us less dependent on dangerous sources of foreign oil, it only digs America deeper into a crushing dependence on an ever-dirtier, ever more expensive addiction to oil. [caption id="attachment_11187" align="aligncenter" width="497" caption=""PADD III" refers to the Gulf Coast Region--NM, TX, MS, MI, LA and AL"]PADD III Supply[/caption]

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):

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