For Immediate Release
The Week in Keystone XL: Rallies Across America Call for Keystone Rejection
WASHINGTON - Below is a recap of this week’s news related to the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This week, Americans in communities across the country rallied against Keystone, as Canada proved once again that it is an irresponsible actor on the environment. See below for more:
News & Developments:
This Saturday, thousands of people in communities across the country rallied to call on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands development. Organized by a broad coalition of environmental and community groups, the “Day of Action against Dirty Fuels” included over 100 events in 44 states, including rallies, marches, and vigils in communities who would be directly affected by the Keystone pipeline and other dangerous fossil fuel projects.
As Americans rallied against the tar sands pipeline, Canada reminded us once again that, regardless of its claims to the contrary, it values expanded tar sands developments over all else. According to the Canadian Press, the Canadian government is refusing to cooperate with an investigation by the Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC), the body responsible for monitoring NAFTA’s environmental provisions, into its failure to enforce its own laws holding tar sands companies accountable for water pollution.
The CEC launched an investigation last year for allegations that Canada was not enforcing its federal Fisheries Act for confirmed leaks of toxic waste from its massive tailing ponds into the environment. Last week, the Canadian government submitted a letter to the CEC in which it refused to respond to these allegations, demanded that the investigation be terminated, and stridently attacked the CEC’s jurisdiction over the matter.
Then, a newly released internal memo to the federal Minister of the Environment showed that, contrary to Prime Minister Harper’s talking points, limits on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector in the United States are actually comparable to those the Canadian government is considering. Harper has long asserted that Canada is waiting for the U.S. to implement significant regulations, using this as an excuse for putting off their own long-awaited greenhouse gas regulations. But this excuse holds little water given the new information that the regulations the U.S. already has in place are, in fact, significant.
In its efforts to get approval for Keystone XL and associated tar sands expansion, the Canadian government has spent millions trying to convince Americans that it’s a responsible partner on the environment. But even the most aggressive PR campaign cannot bridge the major disconnect between Canada’s rhetoric and the reality of its record on environmental issues. Incidents like these prove that the Canadian government values tar sands development over all else, and simply should not be trusted to act responsibly on the environment, and the rallies across America calling for President Obama to block the pipeline prove that Americans are not buying what the Canadians are selling.
Quotes of the Week:
“The Government of Canada should not get a pass from its international commitment to respond to this investigation especially as it is under the microscope in the U.S. over whether to permit the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.” – NRDC’s Danielle Droitsch, on Canada’s refusal to enforce its own environmental laws, even as it tries to present itself to the U.S. as a responsible partner on the environment.
It “wouldn’t have been on our radar screen because it’s not logical.” – TransCanada CEO Russ Girling, on the impracticality of shipping tar sands by rail, in contrast to pipeline supporters’ claims that rail could easily replace Keystone XL, and that tar sands will get to market no matter what.
In Case You Missed It:
TransCanada moving oil by rail not as simple as it seems – CBC News reports that strict new rules for rail cars may affect TransCanada's possible plans to move oil by train rather than through the Keystone XL pipeline.
Nebraska court to weigh Keystone – The Nebraska Supreme Court is preparing to examine the Governor’s Environment Canada memo contradicts Prime Minister’s rationale for delaying oil industry climate rules – Greenpeace Canada blogs about how an internal memo contradicts Prime Minister Harper’s publicly-stated reason for delaying the long-awaited greenhouse gas regulations (GHG) for the oil and gas sector.
THE LAST FIREWALL AGAINST THE LIES
Independent media has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support our critical Winter campaign now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.