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Loud and Clear: No to Keystone XL from both sides of the border

24th September, 2011 - Posted by Carleen Pickard - No Comments

Join the sit-in this Monday, October 26!

Update: Monday Sept 26 – over 180 people were arrested for trespassing on Parliament Hill this morning including Maude Barlow, national chairperson at the Council of Canadians, Dave Coles, President of the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers union and CEP Executive Assistant, Fred Wilson, Graham Saul of Climate Action Network and Mikisew Cree George Poitras. Check here for photos: CEP’s flickr photostream and Council of Canadians photostream
Thank you everyone!

On Monday, Sept 26 hundreds will gather in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, to protest the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.

On the heels of the massive Tar Sands Action at the White House at the end of August, the invitation to mirror the DC action was issued by the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace Canada and the Indigenous Environment Network with a long list of expert, celebrity, organization and activist endorsements. While we in the US work to show President Obama that he has the support to stand up to the oil and gas industry and say no to the pipeline (he’s scheduled to approve the application this year), our Canadian and First Nations friends will be pressuring Prime Minister Harper to stop this massive increase in tar sands exploitation.

In August, I posted a blog with a link to a short film I helped put together called The Oil Up There. It’s worth encouraging you and others to watch it again – and remind ourselves why an expansion of the tar sands is a disaster for both people and the planet.

Daily from August 20 – September 3, hundreds of people joined the Tar Sands Action in Washington DC, where more than 1200 people were arrested at the White House in what is being called the largest act of civil disobedience in defense of the environment in US history.

James Hansen's arrest. Photo credit: Ben Powless

The DC days of action were colourful and moving and folks from all across the continent stepped up. It’s been noted that a photo of the arrest of NASA scientist James Hansen sums up the dire and immediate situation if Keystone XL goes ahead. In 1988 he testified on climate change to congressional committees about global warming and the need to take action to limit climate change. Twenty-three years later that message needs to be heard louder than ever.

This week the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) held a briefing with Members of Parliament, calling for a reversal of the Keystone XL permit and raised questions about the apparently expired certificate approval held by TransCanada Keystone Pipeline CP Ltd, and whether President Obama thus has the ability to approve an international pipeline with an expired certificate and required National Energy Board (NEB) approval. In a letter to the NEB dated September 23, they note:

Condition #22 to that Certificate stipulated that:
Unless the Board otherwise directs prior to 11 March 2011, this Certificate shall expire on 11 March 2011 unless construction in respect of the Project has commenced by that date.
Our understanding is that the Board made no direction prior to March 11, 2011, and that no construction in respect of the Project had commenced by that date. Accordingly, OC-56 expired on March 11, 2011, and there is no current approval that would allow TCPL to proceed further with the Keystone XL pipeline.

Stay tuned.

To my friends in Canada, I wish I could be there with you on Monday, and thank you/meegwetch!

For those of you in Canada, visit the Ottawa Tar Sands Action web page to find out how you can get involved. Read Council of Canadians campaigner, Andrea Harden-Donahue’s, thoughts before the protest, here.

 In the U.S., the actions against the Tar Sands have not slowed. According to 350.org, the State Department is holding a number of public hearings on the proposed pipeline, and community members are being asked to attend the meetings and testify.

Get involved from wherever you are and STOP KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE.

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