Tar Sands Action to Commence Saturday at White House

Tar Sands ActionSaturday marks the commencement of the Tar Sands Action, which will take place in front of the White House.

It is a two-week long civil disobedience campaign, planned to last through September 3, demanding that the Obama Administration turn down the proposal to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The 1,980-mile pipeline is slated to transport the dirtiest oil in the world from Alberta's tar sands down to southeast Texas. The pipeline's route overlaps with the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies 82 percent of the people that live within the aquifer's boundary their drinking water. It would also snake through the Nebraska Sand Hills, which is a vital wetland ecosystem, containing a diverse array of plant and animal life.

This is but a sampling of the ecological catastrophes that could be fast-tracked by building the Keystone XL.

Environmental movement leader Bill McKibben and founder of the organization 350.org, for one, has called the pipeline a "carbon bomb" that would make the United States a new-fangled Middle East.

Over 2,000 activists have signed up to take part in the action, with prominent voices of dissent, such as Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow, Wendell Berry, Danny Glover, Gasland Director Josh Fox, FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher, Lt. Col. Dan Choi, and Mark Ruffalo, among others, entering into the fold.

The Koch Industries Connection to the Keystone XL

In Februrary 2011, Reuters unveiled the ties between Koch Industries and the Keystone XL:

Koch Industries is already responsible for close to 25 percent of the oil sands crude that is imported into the United States, and is well-positioned to benefit from increasing Canadian oil imports.

A Koch Industries operation in Calgary, Alberta, called Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, supplies about 250,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day to a heavy oil refinery in Minnesota, also owned by the Koch brothers.

Flint Hills Resources Canada also operates a crude oil terminal in Hardisty, Alberta, the starting point of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The company's website says it is "among Canada's largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters." Koch Industries also owns Koch Exploration Canada, L.P., an oil sands-focused exploration company also based in Calgary that acquires, develops and trades petroleum properties.

About 80 percent of what the Koch refinery processes is heavy crude from Alberta's oil sands, a company spokesperson told the media last year.

Making this all the more ironic is that the Obama Administration, which has been a major target of Koch Brothers' funded public relations and propaganda campaigns, has the final say in the Keystone XL pipeline's destiny, which it looks likely to approve.

Decision 100 Percent in the Hands of Obama Administration U.S. State Department

Because the pipeline crosses the Canada-U.S. international border, the U.S. Department of State has the final say in whether the pipeline proposal becomes an on-the-ground reality. The Obama Administration has announced that this decision will occur by the end of 2011.

To many observers this is a troubling prospect, and for good reason.

On December 16, 2010, Change.org's Jess Leber wrote about the close connections between the pipeline's builder's chief lobbyist, Paul Elliot of TransCanada, and U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton:

Before Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she was running for President.

Before Paul Elliot became chief DC lobbyist for TransCanada, he was national deputy director of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. TransCanada is the company seeking the State Department's approval to pipeline up to 900,000 barrels a day of the dirtiest oil on the planet from Alberta through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to reach Gulf coast refineries.

In March 2011, Clinton said she is "generally supportive" of the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline and in October 2010, Clinton stated that she is "inclined" to support it.

Activists, then, from all corners of the country will sojourn to the White House over the next two weeks to pressure the Administration to stop the pipeline.

If you are planning to be in Washington, DC between August 20 and September 3, and are concerned about this you can sign up at tarsandsaction.org to partake in what may be the largest act of environmental-related civil disobedience in U.S. history.


There are people who think that the attacks against the Keystone XL pipeline construction are based solely on misinformation and partisan politics and that its construction will actually give our economy a boost that it needs right now but the truth is that according to the latest news the government of Canada will not keep its promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a result of excessive oil sand production. We call ourselves an environmentally conscious <a href="http://ilovetoronto.com/toronto-real-estate/2011/08/canadian-self-stereotypes">nation</a> but our government is doing everything to damage this self-stereotype of ours. That's why the construction of the pipeline has stirred so much controversy in our country.