70 Protesters Hauled in for Opposing Canadian Tar Sand Pipeline


More than 70 tar-sands activists were arrested outside the White House lawn this weekend, in response to their participation in a non-violent disobedience protest to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry environmentally destructive Canadian oil from the Alberta province to Houston and Port Arthur, TX.

Despite several existing legs of the Yukon XL line causing oil spills (11 times this year alone), being called “the dirtiest oil in the world” by many environmental researchers, and facing stiff opposition from noted U.S. and Canadian scientists and environmentalists (namely Maude Barlow, Wendell Berry, Tom Goldtooth, Danny Glover, James Hansen, Wes Jackson, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, George Poitras, David Suzuki, and Gus Speth, who jointly called for disobedience protests back in June), the project still has some momentum.

There is hope, however, that President Obama will take steps to stop the pipeline, which needs his express approval in order to proceed.  This is the message that these environmental protesters were trying to get to Obama, before their arrest yesterday.  Leading environmental author (and arrestee!) Bill McKibben wrote, prior to his arrest, that “this is one issue where the president has total control.  He has to grant or deny the necessary permits. Congress can’t get in the way. It’s where Obama can get his environmental mojo back. But we need him to lead.”

We do, indeed.

I’ve included a few links to other Canadian tar-sand related posts here on Gas 2.0, below, and re-posted the original announcement of McKibben’s arrest (from our sister site, Planetsave) below, as well.  Check out some of the links, and do what you can – maybe hit up the White House’s Facebook page? – to make sure this incredibly toxic Canadian export stops being dumped into our borders.



Sources: Planetsave, Grist, National Geographic, etc.

About the Author

I’ve been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

  • CG

    One thing Americans should be made aware of is this. If you choose not to take the tar sand oil, that is fine. That is your free choice. But don’t think for a moment that the oil is going to stay in the ground forever, which the environmental movement so desires. China is buying up the tar sands through its Chinese National Oil Company and other firms. It has told the Canadian government it will take the oil if the US doesn’t want it and discussions are already underway to build a pipeline from Alberta to the BC coast to ship it to Asia. So the oil will be sold and the C02 emissions will take place. The only question is who is going to buy it – the US or Asia.

    • Wow, what a TERRIBLE way to look at life. “If we don’t do ‘awful thing x’, someone else will, so we might as well do it.”

      That’s pretty much the argument behind looting during riots, isn’t it? If you don’t grab the “free” TV, someone else will – and why should they get a free TV and not you.

      I thank you, sincerely, for making me feel a LOT better about my stand on this issue!

  • Personally, I cannot wait to get an EV and off of oil, however… until we reach that point we need some source of oil and getting it from Canada sounds a lot better than shipping it from the Middle East.

    • I disagree. Maybe I’m still upset from reading CG’s post, but consider that oil spilled in the desert, while horrible, doesn’t impact as much wildlife and certainly doesn’t contaminate fresh water. The Canadian oil contaminates millions of gallons fresh water as a requirement of its extraction.

      Spills WILL happen because humans make errors. When (not if) they do, I want minimal environmental impact.

      Canada? They really seem to not give a damn, and I predict future historians will be far less kind to the Albertans than they will be to the MidEast Sheikhs.

  • Where is tar sands oil headed China or Texas?
    This article suggests that the Chinese would refine any oil they put their hands on (Northern Gateway pipeline) in TEXAS! as the only place with existing refineries capable of doing the job both in capacity & capability.


  • Tom

    CG is correct, The oil will not stay underground forever, and it may as well be used if it is dug up (Similar to how using paper is not, by definition, killing a tree). I respect the opinion of the Tar-Sands, but do not necissarily agree with it.

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