More protesters arrested as Obama admin “will remove a major roadblock” to Keystone Tar Sludge pipeline

According to the Washington Post, the Obama Administration, via the State Department — which can single-handedly stop the Keystone XL pipeline — will release its environmental impact study soon.

Good news for you sludge fans — the environmental impact will be declared “limited,” which prepares the way for approval.

The State Department will remove a major roadblock to construction of a massive oil pipeline stretching from Canada to Texas when it releases its final environmental assessment of the project as soon as Friday, according to sources briefed on the process.

The move is critical because it will affirm the agency’s earlier finding that the project will have “limited adverse environmental impacts” during construction and operation, according to sources familiar with the assessment who asked not to be identified because the decision has not been made public.

The department will have to conduct one more assessment — of whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the “national interest” — before making a final permit decision by the end of the year.

So the path is being cleared for Money to make more money. Why the State Dept, you might ask — why not the EPA? Well, the EPA has been showing some teeth lately, and there’s Canadian Money involved, not just American Money. (Can Canadian Money contribute to U.S. presidential elections? Not sure.)

For a peek at what this larger Keystone pipeline will look like, click here. The dotted red line is the expansion being considered. The Post article is rich in information — I do recommend reading it through.

But I’d like to highlight the environment vs. “jobs” controversy, and the union’s role in this progressive-coalition-killing discussion:

But the project’s advocates — including United Association general president William Hite, whose union represents plumbers and pipefitters in North America — said it would employ thousands of Americans while supplying oil from a close ally. “It’s a job engine for the country at a time when we need the jobs, and until we do something else, we need the oil,” Hite said in an interview. “I don’t see how we can turn it down.”

Ah, unions. Cruickshank’s rule: No one in a coalition takes a backward step to advance another member’s cause. And never forget; the AFL-CIO was the prime enabler of Reagan’s takedown of the Air Traffic Controllers union.

How can we help you, Mr Union-collaborator-in-your-own-destruction, when you won’t begin to help yourselves? I mean that seriously.

Via press release, we got news of another round of arrests in front of the White House today:

Another 47 Americans were arrested at the White House today as part of an ongoing sit-in to pressure President Obama to stand up to Big Oil and deny the permit for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The total number of arrests is now at 322 people.

Today’s protestors held a banner at the White House fence that read “Keystone XL is ‘Game Over’ for Climate and Communities,” quoting NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen who said that the development of the Canadian tar sands would be essentially “game over” for the climate. Dr. Hansen plans to be arrested on Monday.

In many cases, indigenous peoples in Alberta are already a facing a “game over” situation for their communities, where tar sands development has destroyed the local environment and endangered public health.

This really needs to be stopped. As Dave Roberts of grist.org explains near the end of this interview: (1) tar sands oil is so toxic and sludgy that the pipeline must be heated for its whole length, and spills are devastating.

But the worst outcome isn’t failure of the project (via spills), it’s success: (2) If the carbon contained in all that oil ends up in earth’s atmosphere, it’s game over for humans on this planet. That carbon is a planetary death bomb.

Please help out if you can. Check out the protests if you’re in DC, join them if you dare (you’ll be in great company), and please support the ending of this project. There are lots of ways, and it matters.

UPDATE: Also here, an invitation.

GP


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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