Pelosi Visits Ottawa as Tar Sands Protests Flare

By Brant Ran

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.