There is widespread public opposition to the Keystone XL project due to the severe risks it poses to the climate, air, water, wildlife, and indigenous and landowner rights. Under the guise of his “All of the Above” energy strategy, President Obama decided to go ahead with the southern leg of the Keystone XL.
Native Americans were forced by local authorities to protest the President’s decision in Cushing, from a cage erected in Memorial Park.
“President Obama is an adopted member of the Crow Tribe, so his fast-tracking a project that will desecrate known sacred sites and artifacts is a real betrayal and disappointment for his Native relatives everywhere,” said Marty Cobenais of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Tar sands is devastating First Nations communities in Canada already and now they want to bring that environmental, health, and social devastation to US tribes.”
“Natives in Canada live downstream from toxic tar sands mines,” said Earl Hatley, “and they are experiencing spikes in colon, liver, blood and rare bile-duct cancers which the Canadian government and oil companies simply ignore. And now they want to pipe these tar sands through the heart of Indian country, bulldozing grave sites and ripping out our heritage.”
First nations people are also concerned that the Keystone XL and the Canadian tar sands mines will ignore impacts to indigenous communities and their sacred spaces.
According to a survey done by the Oklahoma Archeological Survey there are 88 archaeological sites and 34 historic structures that were threatened by Keystone XL. Even if TransCanada reroutes the pipeline there will still be 71 archaeological sites and 22 historic structures at risk.
Beyond the threat to their own cultural heritage, the group voiced opposition to the pipeline’s environmental impacts.
Young people across the nation are also unhappy with the President’s “All of the Above” energy approach. The President was greeted by protestors when he went to Ohio State University after his announcement in Cushing.
“I don’t know the last time President Obama took a multiple choice exam, but when you have two contradictory options like protecting our climate and increasing our dependence on fossil fuels, ‘all of the above’ is not a correct answer,” said Stuart McIntyre, a student at Ohio State University. “President Obama needs to choose one or the other, because our future as young people depends on it.”
© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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