Keystone’s Communities: Underrepresented in Conversations About Implementation

For any pro-pipeliners out there, I have a question for you: if it was your town sitting on the path of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, would you still support it? 

Much of the discussion surrounding the pipeline’s implementation deals with the economics of the issue: job growth, revenue from exports, etc. What these discussions lack and honestly what almost every conversation about environmental issues lacks is humanity. It sounds kind of corny, but we’re dealing with real people here. Politicians and media alike are valuing macro issues like reduced dependency on Russia and the Middle East over micro issues like the potential of serious health risks to surrounding communities.

It’s hard, because this issue is of international scale. The ripples from this decision will reach markets in Russia and the Middle East. Canada, the supplier of land to extract the tar sands for the pipeline has obvious stake in the issue. But it is the communities that would surround the pipeline and the oil refineries that will feel the most devastating effects.

Increased risk of cancerous cell development (see previous post, Keystone Pipeline XL: Cancer Generator) and the potential of water contamination (Are Water Sources at Risk With The Keystone XL Pipeline?) are few among many of the effects that could be felt if the pipeline is passed.

Take it from someone who’s been there. Eriel Deranger, an activist and spokesperson for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is from an area in North Alberta, Canada, where tar sands are currently being extracted. She doesn’t live there anymore.

Aerial view of tar sands extraction in Alberta (via The Nation)

Aerial view of tar sands extraction in Alberta (via The Nation)

“I don’t live in my community because I have children,” The Nation quotes, “and I can’t bear the fact that if I lived in my community, I would be putting their lives at risk.”

So now that you’ve had some time to consider your position, let’s check in. Here’s another question: If faced by a member of one of these at-risk communities, do you feel that you could in good conscious, defend the pipeline?

Ed Shultz, host of MSNBC’s The Ed Show, couldn’t. A longtime ardent supporter of Keystone, Shultz flew out to Nebraska to speak with people who will be most directly affected by the pipeline. Soon after his trip, he renounced his support for the project and urged President Obama to make the same pilgrimage.

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He says, ““You won’t have all the information, Mr. President, unless you do what I did. It’s an eye opener. It’s a risk. It’s unnecessary. We don’t have to do this.” (click to watch the clip)

We don’t have all the information and that’s because the members of these communities are not being adequately represented. Until they are given a sufficient say in this issue in which we are all stakeholders, can we allow them to bear the burden of the pipeline? Is it worth it? Think about it: what if it was you, your family and your community at risk.

So I’ll ask you one more time: if it was your town sitting on the path of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, would you still support it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Bloggers Pt. 2

Hi everybody, my name is Allyson Gruber. I am a junior management and communications major at the University of Maryland, and originally came from New Jersey.

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When I learned about the Keystone Pipeline XL project, I was immediately drawn to the cause because of the impact it will have on the environment. Entire communities will be affected by toxic emissions from the pipeline. These emissions will contaminate the air, and even local water sources. This will increase illness, in areas where people cannot always afford to seek medical attention. People will develop breathing problems, and sometimes it may even cause cancer. None of these people deserve to have their area desolated by the government.

We hope that by creating this blog, we can educate people on why the Keystone Pipeline XL should not be continued forward. Until next time lovely readers!

Meet the bloggers, Pt. 1

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Hi, everyone! My name is Hannah Rosenberg and I’m a junior Communication major from Silver Spring, MD. This is a picture of my left cheek repping an anti-Keystone XL Pipeline sticker at a recent protest. Want to know how I got here? Read my story:

On March 2, I headed to Georgetown University via the Metro (and cabbed the extra 3 miles from Foggy Bottom) to join a group numbering upwards of 1000 in protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline. I’d never been to an environmental action. Students- my own age- had organized and brought this to life.

Coming in, my exposure to the facts fit into one of three categories: news coverage, youtube videos or conversations with my friends and family. When we reached Lafayette Square, I added a forth category. Speeches were made that invoked every emotion from anger, to passion to fear. Besides the environmental devastation that would be brought on by the pipeline’s installment, what really struck me was the type of communities that would be affected.

One protestor’s sign read, “The people affected by the pipeline can’t afford to be here.” I feel with complete conviction that this pipeline wouldn’t even be considered if the communities it ran through were filled with affluent, wealthy people. It’s infuriating to think that our President, our Government would allow this to pass because it can. Because the people who are affected don’t have the influence to stop it. They need to be heard, and quickly! This issue is actively unfolding, so it can’t wait. Consider signing the petition below to convince President Obama to go speak to the people of Nebraska–one of the states that Keystone XL’s would run right through. Even if you’re not sure exactly how you feel about this issue, the people who will experience the most immediate effects, the people who are already experiencing the effects, do, so let them be heard. Here’s the link: http://boldnebraska.org/obama