From Keystone to Ecuador: The End of “Easy Oil”

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Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

From Keystone to Ecuador: The End of “Easy Oil”

WASHINGTON - MARIA LANGHOLZ, jamie at 350.org, @350
The environmental group 350.org states: “As the fight over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline seems to be accelerating towards a final decision, protestors are turning up the heat on President Obama to reject the project.” Langholz is a senior at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and is one of “more than 1,000 students and youth from across the country [who] have signed up to take part in a march to the White House from Georgetown University, where President Obama laid out his ‘climate test’ for the pipeline this summer. Once there, more than 300 youth are expected to risk arrest in a sit-in, the largest youth act of civil disobedience at the White House in a generation.”

ANTONIA JUHASZ, antoniajuhasz at gmail.com, @AntoniaJuhasz
Author of The Tyranny of Oil, investigative reporter Juhasz just wrote the piece “Why Oil Drilling in Ecuador is ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ for Planet” published today by CNN.com. She can address the Keystone XL, fracking and energy policy generally.

Her piece today states: “Experts believe that in order to avoid the worst of a future climate change catastrophe, most of the planet’s fossil fuels must be left in the ground. Ecuador’s ambitious Yasuni-ITT Initiative, launched in 2007, was hailed as a landmark plan to keep oil exploration out of one of the most biologically diverse places left on earth and to preserve the homes of indigenous tribes living there. But Ecuador abandoned the plan last year, and drilling could now begin any time. In November I traveled to the Yasuni National Park in northeastern Ecuador, marveling at its beauty and the richness of the lives of those who live there. But the once global struggle to secure the Yasuni-ITT Initiative has now largely fallen on the shoulders of a few indigenous tribal communities who have pledged to fight, some to the death, to keep oil companies out of their communities and their oil in the ground.

“Will the world back them up? It is a question with significance far beyond Yasuni National Park. The age of ‘easy oil,’ if it ever existed, is over. What is left is in places like the Yasuni, previously deemed too sensitive, valuable, or risky to drill. The cost to both the planet and local people of pursuing such oil grows in tandem with the difficulty of extracting it. The Yasuni presents a critical opportunity to demonstrate that a different path is possible, though fortunately it is not the only place where the effort to leave our ‘oil in the soil’ has taken root.

“Across the U.S. and world, communities are voting to ban oil and natural gas development. These efforts come from a growing realization that we are all now ultimately on the front lines of the battle over what is to be done with the world’s remaining fossil fuels.”

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