Throughout the nation people are sending the Obama Administration a strong message to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. This video-report covers the demonstration that took place in Asheville, North Carolina on December 17.
Construction of the XL pipeline is planned by Trans-Canada Corporation to move crude oil 1700 miles from the Alberta Tarsands to the Gulf of Mexico where it will be refined and sold to the highest bidder on the international market, most likely to western European and Asian nations.
The environmental problems associated with this project are numerous and severe.
The Alberta Tarsands are located under Canada's Boreal Forest, one of the largest tracts of continuous natural forests left on earth. To mine the tarsands, an area roughly the size of the state of Florida is being clearcut, threatening endangered species of northern mammals whose habitat has already been drastically restricted by the encroachment of civilization.
The tarsands are then extracted from the ground using deep-pit mines that leave the land looking like a black-stained moonscape contaminated by toxic waste.
Yielding oil from the tarsands is an energy-intensive process because the crude is so dirty, filled with silt and impurities that need to be mechanically and chemically removed to be useful as a fuel. This process was not, until recently, economically practical because its positive yield was so minimal compared to drilled oil. But, due to the increased value of petroleum in recent years, and new extraction technologies, the industry now deems it worthwhile. It's estimated that this process generates about 12% more greenhouse gases per barrel than conventional drilled oil.
The pipeline itself would travel 1700 miles through every major aquifer and waterway in the midwestern United States and Southern Canada, vulnerable to earthquakes, severe weather conditions such as tornadoes and flooding, mechanical and material imperfections, human error and terrorist attacks. The project would intrude itself on native lands and unwilling landowners.
And finally, if all the oil from the tarsands reaches the market and is burned as fuel, the scientific community says it will release so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that all hope can be abandoned for humanity avoiding the worst consequences of climate change.
To view the petition visit 350.org.