The American Bear


Nebraska approves Keystone pipeline, leaving fate of project in Obama’s hands

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) on Tuesday approved a route through his state for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, escalating Republican pressure on the White House to approve the project.

Heineman’s decision leaves the Obama administration as the last barrier in Keystone’s path, a fact that Republicans in both chambers were quick to highlight.

See also:
Keystone’s Tar Sands Waste Said to Warm Climate More Than Coal


Keystone’s Tar Sands Waste Said to Warm Climate More Than Coal

Refining Canada’s oil sands into gasoline may speed global warming more than previously estimated after accounting for use of a waste product, which can be burned like coal.

Opening a new front in a fight to persuade President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil sands from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, environmental groups yesterday released a study that found refining the heavy material will create 5 billion tons of petroleum coke, or petcoke, that’s used by power plants, aluminum factories and steel mills.

Compared with coal, petcoke is cheaper and releases more carbon dioxide when burned. Much of the U.S. supply is exported.

Petcoke is the coal hiding in the tar sands,” said Lorne Stockman, research director for Oil Change International, a Washington-based advocacy group that works for a transition away from fossil fuels. Until now, “the emissions of burning petcoke has not been included in the analyses.

Opponents of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s 1,661-mile (2,673- kilometer) pipeline are stepping up their efforts to stop the project as the U.S. State Department completes its review of a new route in Nebraska that avoids drinking water supplies. Obama delayed* the pipeline year ago, citing concerns about water, and encouraged the company to reapply.

Stockman said he gave State Department officials a research report yesterday showing that 15 percent to 30 percent of a barrel of oil sands bitumen can end up as petcoke. A lighter crude would have less than 2 percent, he said.

(via becauseithinktoomuch)

BREAKING: 40 People Stop Keystone XL Construction: Four Lock to Machinery, Nacogdoches Student and Two Others Launch a New Tree Blockade

NACOGDOCHES, TX – MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2012 8:00AM – Today, four people locked themselves to heavy machinery used along the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline route. They were joined by several others forming a human chain to block the movement of heavy machinery onsite, while more than 30 people walked onto the same construction site to halt work early this morning. Meanwhile, three others launched a new tree blockade at a crossing of the Angelina River, suspending themselves from 50 foot pine trees with life lines anchored to heavy machinery, effectively blocking the entirety of Keystone XL’s path. Today’s Day of Action is in solidarity with local landowners struggling to protect their water and land from TransCanada’s toxic tar sands pipeline.

(Source: resistkxl, via becauseithinktoomuch)

I’m here to connect the dots between super storm Sandy and the record heat, drought, and fire we’ve seen this year – and this Tar Sands pipeline, which will make all of these problems much worse. And I’m here to connect the dots between climate devastation and pipeline politicians – both Obama and Romney – who are competing, as we saw in the debates, for the role of Puppet In Chief for the fossil fuel industry. Both deserve that title. Obama’s record of ‘drill baby drill’ has gone beyond the harm done by George Bush. Mitt Romney promises more of the same.

Jill Stein

Jill Stein Arrested While Visiting Tar Sands Blockade to Highlight Hurricane Sandy

Police working as hired thugs for TransCanada have effectively sealed off all press access to the tree blockade. After two more journalists were detained and handcuffed for standing on nearby private property the police moved the tape demarcating the Keystone XL easement line back 60 feet. TransCanada’s thugs have now claimed nearby private property as their own and are denying free press access to observe and report on the tree blockade. Two Freelance Journalists Arrested While Reporting on Tree Blockade | Tar Sands Blockade

Keystone Pipeline: Not So Dead | The Daily Beast

President Obama revived the project a little on Wednesday:

President Barack Obama will use Thursday’s visit to Oklahoma to announce that he’s ordered federal agencies to get on the horse to approve the southern part of the Keystone XL pipeline, the White House announced.

Yesterday’s talking point: The president was forced to cancel the pipeline by Republican attempts to force his hand.

Today’s talking point: Cancellation? What cancellation?

Just to add insult to injury, I’m quoting former Bush speechwriter and “good” conservative, David Frum.

Pragmatic Obama indeed.

Tar sands oil and Keystone XL's dirty secret | Bernie Sanders

In my view, the evidence is overwhelming that this pipeline is not in the best interest of our environment or the economic interest of the American people, and the president should reject it. At the very least, he should put off a final decision on this project until the special review is complete and the results are made public.

In terms of energy policy, we have better options. Adopting President Obama’s plan to move to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 will save approximately 2.5m barrels of oil per day by 2030, which is more oil than we would import from Keystone XL, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf combined. Instead of raising gas prices on Americans, as Keystone XL would do, these fuel standards would save drivers $7,000 over the life of a vehicle.

President Obama should say yes to stronger fuel economy standards, and no to Keystone XL. By doing so, he will keep faith with his campaign promises to break our oil addiction and reverse global warming.

Women Lead Charge for Another Keystone XL Victory | Bill McKibben

Written March 8th:

Today was… quite a day. The bell that people struck last August when they sat in at the White House to block the Keystone Pipeline was still resonating. Not loudly — the oil money in Congress muffled the sound. But loudly enough that we squeaked through by a 4-Senator margin, defeating a Republican amendment mandating the pipeline’s construction.


I thought of Women’s Day again in the afternoon, when the votes in the Senate were being tallied and we were all doing the digital equivalents of biting our nails (refreshing Twitter, mostly). After the drama of the arrests and of encircling the White House had died down some, the hard work of maintaining this victory in the oil-soaked Congress fell to a small corps of Capitol Hill environmentalists. A few were men — Jeremy Symons from National Wildife Federation, Jason Kowalski from — but at the center were several indefatigable women, like Tiernan Sittenfeld of the League of Conservation Voters, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz from the National Resources Defense Council, and Lena Moffitt from the Sierra Club.

The work they did was not glamorous — it was absolutely necessary, however.Day after day they tracked how each Senator was leaning, figured out which arguments would persuade which staffer, carted around briefing books, gave powerpoints, convinced donors to call the pols they’d funded. I don’t think I could do it — the constant match of their conviction against the cynicism that rules so much of Washington seems tougher for me to endure than my three days in Central Cell Block. But they did it with quiet grace, and they won

And in the end, the two events — on the Lakota Reservation, and on the Hill — were the perfect summation of the whole Keystone campaign. The most grassroots of activists meshed easily and powerfully with the most entrenched of Washington enviros; there was no bickering or infighting — people seemed naturally to take the parts they were good at and trust others to do likewise, from Jane Kleeb running the Nebraska fight to Kenny Bruno coordinating the funders. Everyone worked toward a common goal with the resources they had at hand, and together we made them enough.

Just enough, mind you, and our victory may not last forever. But today big oil actually lost something big. If you want to understand how, all those women are the place to start. [++]

See also: In close vote, Senate rejects authorization for Keystone XL pipeline | Deep Green Resistance News Service

Lakotas arrested halting Keystone XL pipeline trucks

Lakotas on Pine Ridge Indian land in South Dakota are being arrested as they halt trucks of the Keystone XL pipeline from entering their territory.

Lakota human rights activists Alex White Plume, Debra White Plume, Andrew Ironshell and others were reported arrested late Monday. They were taken to the jail in Kyle, S.D.

An action alert was sent out shortly before the arrests: “Calling all Lakota men on the Pine Ridge Reservation to come to Wanblee, South Dakota. XL Pipeline trucks are being held there at the border by our Lakota Oyate, Oglala Sioux Tribal Police and State Troopers in an effort to keep them from entering our territory. Even the state troopers told the trucks they have to turn around and cannot bring their pipeline or other materials on to our reservation. The XL Pipeline trucks are refusing to turn around claiming they have corporate rights that supersede any other law.”

(Source: sarahlee310)

TransCanada to Build Texas Segment of Keystone XL Pipeline


TransCanada Corp. will proceed with building a $2.3 billion segment of its Keystone XL oil pipeline from Oklahoma to the Texas coast so that it isn’t delayed by U.S. approval for the rest of the line.

The company, based in Calgary, expects the segment to begin carrying crude from the Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast as soon as mid-year 2013, according to a statement today. TransCanada is separating the Cushing line from its application to President Barack Obama for approval of a Keystone expansion that will bring crude into the U.S. from Canada’s oil sands.

“We remain committed to building this overall project in a timely and efficient manner and to meet demand of shippers,” said TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling in an interview today. Shippers are making multi billion dollar commitments spanning decades and “they haven’t wavered from Keystone,” he said.

Texas Landowner Group Forms To Fight Keystone Pipeline

“President Obama’s decision to halt construction of the Keystone tar sands pipeline has not stopped plans for segment passing through East Texas. And KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports a group of landowners has organized to fight back.”

Texas landowners thwarted the ambitious Trans-Texas Corridor, and Texas landowners just might be able to stop the construction of the last leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline project. […]

(Source: kileyrae, via other-stuff)

Update: Stop the Pipeline! Over 800,000 Messages in 24 Hours!!!


This is pretty damn impressive. Personally, I’m proud of everyone who’s been involved with fighting this terrible pipeline, including the various organizations which teamed up, and every one of those over 800,000 people who took a minute to sign this petition. It’s sending a loud message and I’m psyched to shout it louder!

More info here.

(via socialuprooting)

Top climate scientists warn Congress over Keystone XL |

Over a dozen of the nation’s top climate scientists just released this letter to Congressional Leadership that we will deliver along with the over 500,000 signatures against Keystone XL that we hope to collect during out “24 Hours to Stop the Pipeline” drive.

Feb 13, 2012 

Dear Senators Reid and McConnell, and Representatives Boehner and Pelosi,

We are researchers at work on the science of climate change and allied fields. Last summer, we called on President Obama to block the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada’s tar sands. We were gratified to see that he did so, and since some in Congress are seeking to revive this plan, we wanted to restate the case against it.

The tar sands are a huge pool of carbon, one that it does not make sense to exploit. It takes a lot of energy and water to extract and refine this resource into useable fuel, and the mining is environmentally destructive. Adding this on top of conventional fossil fuels with leave our children and grandchildren a climate system with consequences that are out of their control. It makes no sense to build a pipeline that would dramatically increase exploitation of this resource.

When other huge oil fields or coal mines were opened in the past, we knew much less about the damage that the carbon they contained would do to the earth’s climate and its oceans. Now that we do know, it’s imperative that we move quickly to alternate forms of energy—and that we leave the tar sands in the ground.

We can say categorically that this pipeline is not in the nation’s, or the planet’s best interest.


James Hansen, Research Scientist, The International Research Institute for Climate and Society, The Earth Institute, Columbia University

et. al.

What Happened to Canada? | Chris Hedges

"During the week of the G8 & G20 summits, the police targeted legal observers, street medics and independent media. It is clear that the skills that make us strong, the alternatives that reduce our reliance on their systems and prefigure a new world, are the very things that they are most afraid of." - Leah Henderson

Those who seek to discredit this movement employ the language of nationalism and attempt to make us fearful of the other. Wave the flag. Sing the national anthem. Swell with national hubris. Be vigilant of the hidden terrorist. Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, responding to the growing opposition to the Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway pipelines, wrote in an open letter that “environmental and other radical groups” were trying to “hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.” He accused pipeline opponents of receiving funding from foreign special interest groups and said that “if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach: sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further.”

No matter that in both Canada and the United States suing the government to seek redress is the right of every citizen. No matter that the opposition to the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines has its roots in Canada. No matter that the effort by citizens in the U.S. and in Canada to fight climate change is about self-preservation. The minister, in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry like the energy czars in most of the other industrialized nations, seeks to pit “loyal” Canadians against “disloyal” Canadians. Those with whom we will build this movement of resistance will not in some cases be our own. They may speak Arabic, pray five times a day toward Mecca and be holding off the police thugs in the center of Cairo. Or they may be generously pierced and tattooed and speak Danish or they may be Mandarin-speaking workers battling China’s totalitarian capitalism. These are differences that make no difference.

“My country right or wrong,” G.K. Chesterton once wrote, is on the same level as “My mother, drunk or sober.”