Tag Archives: Keystone XL

Thanksgiving Guide: How to Celebrate a Sordid History

A day seen by many Americans as a day of celebration, a day for family, and a day for giving thanks, is perceived by many Native Americans as a day filled with ignorance, a day filled with anger and a day full of mourning.

By Emma Fiala. Published 11-22-2017 by MintPress News

While millions of Americans prepare this week to get into the holiday spirit, beginning with Thanksgiving, how many are prepared to view the day through an accurate lens? While to many Americans the holiday serves as a reminder to give thanks, it is seen as a day of mourning by countless others. The truth is: European migrants brutally murdered Native Americans, stole their lands, and continue to do so today.

Start by acknowledging that almost everything taught about Thanksgiving in most schools across the country is a lie. Most Americans remember celebrations in elementary school in honor of Thanksgiving that included activities ranging from coloring pages to parades to plays. Everyone knows the drill: The Pilgrims fled Europe before landing on Plymouth Rock. The resident natives taught them how to farm the land, they all sat down for a big meal in 1621, and everyone lived happily ever after in the United States. Continue reading


As Predicted—Because ‘Pipelines Are Bound to Spill’—Existing Keystone Gushes 200K Gallons of Oil

‘With their horrible safety record, today’s spill is just the latest tragedy caused by the irresponsible oil company TransCanada.’

By Jon Queally, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 11-16-2017

Those who had warned against the pipeline’s approval for precisely these reasons and continue to worked tirelessly to prevent the construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) project, were among the first to respond to Thursday’s spill. (Photo: Tar Sands Blockade)

Some of the worst fears and dire predictions of opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline came true on Thursday when pipeline owner TransCanada announced that more than 200,000 gallons of oil had spilled from the existing portion of the Keystone system in Marshall County, South Dakota.

While the company reported the spill in a public statementBuzzfeed notes there was an approximately four-and-a-half hour gap between when the company said the breach was discovered at 6:00 am and when local officials say they were notified at 10:30 am.  As a South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources told the news outlet, “We’re not quite sure why there was a time gap in there.” Continue reading


Following Trump’s “Utterly Alarming” DAPL Order Would Violate Law, Tribe Warns

“[T]he law requires that changes in agency positions be backed by new circumstances or new evidence, not simply by the president’s whim.”

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-26-2017

“Millions stand by us, and will continue to do so as we receive executive indication that infrastructure projects will be driven by corporate desire rather than American values,” Standing Rock Sioux chairman David Archambault III wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump. (Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/cc)

The Standing Rock Sioux has responded to President Donald Trump’s executive order to push through the long-contested Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), calling the memorandum “utterly alarming” and warning that following through with it would violate federal law.

In a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday, Standing Rock Sioux chairman David Archambault III noted that Trump did not accept a request to meet with him, and issued the order “without any consultation.” Continue reading


“Minnesota Nice” is not extended to water protectors!

Lake St. bridge between Minneapolis and St. Paul on 1-27-2017. Photo: Screenshot from Fox 9 livestream

Yesterday afternoon, activists gathered on a bridge over the Mississippi River to protest the Trump administration”s executive order concerning the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines. It took place on Lake Street Bridge, near where Marshall intersects with Lake Street. To those not familiar with our city, this is where Minneapolis and St. Paul meet, over a river that has been polluted by industrial and agricultural runoff to the level that fish consumption advisories are common. The protest was peaceful, with the police shutting down access to the bridge from either direction and redirecting traffic to protect all citizens, including the protestors.

As many of you may know, Occupy World Writes is based in the Twin Cities. When most people think of Minnesota and the people who live there, they usually have two preconceptions about the place. The first is that it resembles the Arctic Circle during the winter (which it occasionally does), and that the people are basically decent, caring human beings. “Minnesota Nice” is one of those catchy phrases that our state tourism departments love, and use to their benefit.

We monitor local actions, on the ground or via social media feeds, where we can also examine different angles and hear perspectives from all sides of an issue. We also monitor the comments to see what kind of reactions the community that’s watching have. We were shocked, saddened and outraged by what we were reading. Some examples:

“Run ’em down!” “Arrest them all!” “Go get a job!” “This is ASSAULT if I can’t drive where I want to!” “It’s all the fault of those BLM people!”

In other words, “WAAH! You’re inconveniencing me! I have to drive a whole two or three miles out of my way! How DARE you!”

“Run ’em down”: Vehicular manslaughter is a crime in Minnesota, as it is in all US states. To cause bodily injury with intent by using a motor vehicle against a pedestrian is also illegal. The protesters were there legally, as proven with the law enforcement officers protecting them.

“Arrest them all!”: In order to be arrested, a person must be breaking the law. These people were protected BY the police, not trying to escape them. Law enforcement understands that 1st Amendment rights and peaceful protests are completely legal. To arrest people for NOT doing anything against the law is an overreach, at best.

“Go get a job!“: Assessing one’s employment status by appearance alone is not a skill – it is a judgement. The activist community around here is the same as it is in most big cities across this country – very diverse. Most are employed; everyone who works, works hard. Some work 2nd or 3rd shift, some work over the weekends and have other days off during the week, and some are retired or full time students between class schedules. When people go to a sporting event, we don’t look at all the spectators and say “Go get a job!” Maybe this what these people CHOOSE to do when not at their jobs.

“This is ASSAULT if I can’t drive where I want to!”: Assault is defined as an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. We have not been able to assess how motorists in cars across the city were “assaulted” by people standing on a bridge.

“It’s all the fault of those BLM people!”: The people we observed in the footage were not African American. They appeared to be a diverse group of white, native, latino and other sects that represent a cross section of the greater metro area. Many of the posters and other supporting demonstration gear was identical to what was seen in Standing Rock and Sacred Stone Camps in North Dakota, where people in the Twin Cities swore their solidarity with the water protectors.

What we observed the most was the total disconnect between what should be an obvious 1st Amendment right being exercised, and the assumption that this was somehow “illegal” and should not be allowed.

It does not seem to have occurred to any of those criticizing this action, that when the Bill of Rights was written, it was done so very methodically, in a certain order, for a reason. You would not need 2nd Amendment rights if you did not have 1st Amendment rights worth defending.


Worse Than Keystone XL? TransCanada’s Terrifying “Plan B”

“TransCanada’s Energy East proposal is truly Keystone XL on steroids,” says Natural Resources Defense Council

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-26-2016

Over the course of a single year, the NRDC states, tankers could carry 328 million barrels of tar sands oil down the East Coast—enough oil to fill more than 20,000 Olympic pools. (Photo: Andrew Priest/flickr/cc)

Over the course of a single year, the NRDC states, tankers could carry 328 million barrels of tar sands oil down the East Coast—enough oil to fill more than 20,000 Olympic pools. (Photo: Andrew Priest/flickr/cc)

The pipeline giant TransCanada, stymied in its attempt to drive Keystone XL through America’s heartland, is facing renewed opposition to its “new and equally misguided proposal” to build the Energy East pipeline across Canada and ship tar sands oil via tankers along the U.S. East Coast to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

In partnership with a number of Canadian and U.S. environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—a major player in the fight to defeat Keystone XL—on Tuesday released a new report outlining how Energy East would “effectively create a waterborne tar sands pipeline with hundreds of new oil tankers traversing the Atlantic coastline, making vast areas of the Eastern Seaboard vulnerable to a dangerous tar sands spill.” Continue reading


The Pipeline Strikes Back: the audacity of TransCanada’s $15b suit against the U.S.

The political saga of the Keystone XL pipeline is like a real-life version of The Force Awakens. So why are we giving the Dark Side even more power?

By Jim Shultz. Published 2-5-16 by openDemocracy

The Empire Strikes Back. Credit: starwars.wikia.com.

The Empire Strikes Back. Credit: starwars.wikia.com.

In case you didn’t notice, the new blockbuster Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, ends pretty much the same way the first one did when it came out in the summer of 1977. The bad guys build a Death Star machine that can kill whole planets, the good guys fight back with pluck and grit, and, just in the nick of time, destroy the machine.

The political saga of the Keystone XL pipeline has followed essentially the same plot. TransCanada (playing the role of the Empire) sought to build a metal tunnel from Alberta to the Gulf Coast to transport oil from the Canadian tar sands. The pipeline, not unlike a Death Star, threatened the planet because it would have amped up carbon emissions and quickened the pace of global climate change. In the Keystone saga, pluck and grit came in the form of protests, lawsuits, arrests, and the encirclement of the White House—the equivalent of a Jedi counter-attack. Continue reading


Oil Prices Slide so Far Some Crude Is Now Worth Literally Less than Nothing

By Claire Bernish. Published 1-18-2016 by The Anti-Media

Bernice 1 and 2 wells - Amegard, North Dakota. Photo: Tim Evanson [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bernice 1 and 2 wells – Amegard, North Dakota. Photo: Tim Evanson [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

From a glut in the U.S. supply to fears concerning what will happen now that sanctions on Iran have been lifted, the market for oil is tanking considerably — so much so that one supplier of crude in North Dakota finds itself in the odd position of paying people to take its product.

North Dakota Sour, a high-sulfur crude that’s more expensive to refine than other varieties, has now been listed at -$0.50 per barrel — down from $13.50 per barrel a year ago and $47.60 per barrel in 2014,Bloomberg reported. Continue reading


Saving Face in France, US Cancels Federal Auction of Dirty Fuels at Home

“The Obama administration clearly recognized that it couldn’t present itself as a climate leader in Paris if it was peddling fossil fuels at home.”

Written by Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-7-2015.
"Keeping fossil fuels in the ground has quickly become the new standard for climate leadership," said Jason Kowalski, policy director of 350.org. (Photo: kris krüg/flickr/cc/with overlay)

“Keeping fossil fuels in the ground has quickly become the new standard for climate leadership,” said Jason Kowalski, policy director of 350.org. (Photo: kris krüg/flickr/cc/with overlay)

U.S. climate campaigners are claiming victory for their new and growing “keep it in the ground” campaign on Monday after the Obama administration postponed an auction for fossil fuel leases that was scheduled for later this week.

Given that approximately half the known fossil fuel reserves in the U.S. soil are beneath public lands managed by the federal government, climate activists have made ending exploitation of those deposits a key demand in the global fight to curb global warming. Following an announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that the auction in Washington, D.C. on Thursday would be “rescheduled” until March of next year, campaigners took it as a sign that their message is getting through.

According to the BLM, there were  nine parcels of federal land that would have been made available in the auction, including two 80-acre parcels in Arkansas and seven parcels in Michigan totaling 427 acres.

“Keeping fossil fuels in the ground has quickly become the new standard for climate leadership,” said Jason Kowalski, policy director of 350.org. Referencing the ongoing UN climate summit now entering its second week in France, he added, “The Obama administration clearly recognized that it couldn’t present itself as a climate leader in Paris if it was peddling fossil fuels at home.”

Kowalski continued by saying that since the Obama administration succumbed to movement pressure and rejected the Keystone XL pipeline just weeks ago, the international climate movement is entering a new phase by focusing on keeping untapped oil, gas, and coal reserves untouched and underground. “You’ll see many more protests like this over the year ahead,” he said, “especially that we now have such clear evidence that they work.”

The coalition celebrating Monday’s decision noted that scientists have made it clear that in order to keep global warming under 2°C, a target the United States has supported at the climate talks in Paris, let alone the 1.5°C that many vulnerable nations are calling for, more than 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground.

According to Taylor McKinnon from the Center for Biological Diversity,  “If the administration can’t handle the optics of auctioning fossil fuels while negotiating a climate deal in Paris, it shouldn’t be auctioning off fossil fuels at all. It’s time to end the federal fossil fuel leasing program to align public lands management with our climate goals and keep up to 450 billion tons of carbon pollution in the ground.”

Other groups involved in campaigning against the federal leasing program said it was clear that a planned demonstration outside the DC auction site on Thursday was a factor in its postponement.

Speaking from Paris, campaigns director for Oil Change International David Turnbull said, “Selling off public lands to the oil and gas industry amidst the Paris climate talks would have been the height of hypocrisy. We’re delighted to see this lease sale delayed but will be even more so once this fossil fuel leasing program is ended for good. Those of us working hard in Paris for a successful climate agreement need all the support we can get, and this victory for the keep it in the ground movement should put a little more wind in our sails.”

Though many have been impressed with Obama’s various statements and speeches on climate change in recent months, there remains enormous skepticism about whether his commitment to action matches up with the rhetoric.

“After bold statements for urgent climate action in Alaska and Paris,” said Marissa Knodel, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, “President Obama cannot claim climate leadership as long as his administration continues to offer our public lands and waters for fossil fuel exploitation. The Obama administration should take note: we will be back in March and at every other lease sale until he recognizes that his climate legacy depends on keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”

Follow the discussion on Twitter- #keepitintheground

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.


Obama’s Rejection of Keystone XL Is Victory, But That’s Not the Whole Story

‘The black snake, Keystone XL, has been defeated and best believe we will dance to our victory!’

By Common Dreams. Published 11-6-2015

Photo: tarsandsaction/flickr/cc

Photo: tarsandsaction/flickr/cc

President Obama’s official rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday was met with grand applause from those who opposed the project and organizers who worked tirelessly, despite long odds, to force the adminstration’s hand.

However, even as celebrations were enjoyed and an evening rally was scheduled outside the White House, there’s more to this story than the simple rejection of a single pipeline and the ultimate climate legacy of a president who has announced a ‘historic’ decision. Continue reading


Stick a Fork In It – The End of Keystone XL

Photo by chesapeakeclimate (8/22/11 Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by chesapeakeclimate (8/22/11 Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On Monday afternoon, TransCanada announced that it had asked the State Department to suspend its permit application review process for the Keystone XL pipeline project. The request was made in a letter to Secretary of State john Kerry,

TransCanada had faced multiple lawsuits in Nebraska over the pipeline’s route through the state and over who in the state had final authority to grant final approval on that route. Back in September, TransCanada dropped ongoing lawsuits against Nebraska landowners and agreed to submit a review proposal to Nebraska’s Public Service Commission.

In the letter, the company noted that that the review is expected to take seven to 12 months, and went on to say:

“In order to allow time for certainty regarding the Nebraska route, TransCanada requests that the State Department pause in its review of the Presidential Permit application for Keystone XL. This will allow a decision on the permit to be made later based on certainty with respect to the route of the pipeline.”

In a statement published on the TransCanada website, Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer, said:

“We are asking State to pause its review of Keystone XL based on the fact that we have applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval of its preferred route in the state. I note that when the status of the Nebraska pipeline route was challenged last year, the State Department found it appropriate to suspend its review until that dispute was resolved. We feel under the current circumstances a similar suspension would be appropriate.”

Opponents to the pipeline pointed out that the pipeline’s route wouldn’t ultimately alter the pipeline’s effect. Tom Steyer said that instead of granting a delay, the Obama administration should “immediately reject” the pipeline.

350.org founder Bill McKibben said in a statement:

“Clearly TransCanada has lost and they recognize that. It’s one of the great victories for this movement in decades. In defeat, TransCanada is asking for extra time from the referees, and clearly hoping they’ll get a new head official after the election. It’s time for the current umpire, President Obama, to reject this project once and for all, and go to Paris as the first world leader to stop a major project because of its effect on the climate.”

Personally, we really don’t think it makes much difference at this point. The collapse of the oil market has pretty much made Keystone XL an unprofitable venture for the foreseeable future. As long as oil is trading for under $80 or $90 a barrel, there’s no profit in refining tar sands oil. Yesterday, the one year forecast for WTI crude was $53 a barrel.

That being said, the pipeline would have been a reality if it hadn’t been for activists in Nebraska, Canada and elsewhere letting it be known that it wasn’t OK. it wasn’t OK to try to use eminent domain to take people’s land away from them. It wasn’t OK to pollute the waters and forests around the tar sands. It wasn’t OK to poison the planet.

Occupy World Writes salutes those activists. We the People can make our voices heard. We the People have power.

Our destiny is in our hands.