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Tar Sands

First Nations Accuse Government Of ‘Regulated Murder’

There were over 100 people in the gathering hall in the isolated Northern Alberta hamlet of Fort Chipewyan on an evening in early March, as residents waited to hear from Alberta Energy Regulator CEO Laurie Pusher. He made the trek to the fly-in community to address the AER’s response to a massive tailings leak from an Imperial Oil site that was first disclosed in February of last year. When he arrived he was met with scowling faces and angry outbursts, as residents expressed their frustration with the regulator’s failure to promptly notify the community of the leak.

Indigenous Community Bears The Toxic Effects Of Canada’s Oil Boom

In Northern Alberta, Canada, sit the Athabasca tar sands—the world’s largest known reservoir of crude bitumen, and a major driver of Canada’s economy. The vast majority of Canadian oil production comes from extracting and processing the crude bitumen found in the tar sands. But while Canada prospers off the tar sands industry, Indigenous communities downstream are in the grips of its toxic impact. It is well documented that the people of Fort Chipewyan, in northern Alberta, have been struck by disproportionately high rates of cancer, and their proximity to the tar sands has long been the suspected dominant factor contributing to their sickness.

Water Protectors Block Line 3 Construction In Honor Of Earth Day

Hill City, MN - Early Friday morning, five water protectors locked themselves into concrete barrels at the entrance of Swatara oil pump station, halting construction of the Line 3 Replacement project. This action was taken with Camp Migizi in recognition of Earth Day, coming a day ahead of “Stop Line 3 x Earth Day”, a march that will be taking place in Duluth, Minnesota. Two of the protestors sat behind a hand painted banner reading “Earth Day Every Day”, while other banners in front of the pump station gate read “No Pipelines on Stolen Land,” “Land Back,” and “Protect the Water.”  Construction faces active and growing resistance led by Indigenous groups who see the project and the risk of a spill as a violation of treaty rights, as the project endangers wild rice lakes in treaty territories where the Anishinaabe have the right to hunt, fish, and gather.

Beginning Of The End For Canada’s Tar Sands Or Just A Blip?

When hundreds of activists protesting the Keystone XL pipeline were arrested at the White House in 2011, their ultimate target lay thousands of miles away: Canada's tar sands. If they stopped the pipeline, they argued, that could slow the growth of this particularly dirty source of oil and score a limited but significant win for the climate. This week, with the market saturated and prices depressed, Alberta's premier announced that her government would temporarily curtail the province's oil production, chiefly from the tar sands, because there isn't enough pipeline capacity to ship the crude to market.

South Portland’s Tar Sands Ban Upheld In A ‘David vs. Goliath’ Pipeline Battle

A federal judge has ruled that the coastal city of South Portland, Maine, did not violate the U.S. Constitution when it passed an ordinance that blocked a local pipeline company from bringing tar sands oil through its port. For the city of 25,000, the ruling was a surprise victory after years of fighting what felt like an impossible battle against some of the world's biggest oil companies, which lined up to support the Portland Pipe Line Corporation (PPLC). Provided the ruling survives an appeal, it slams the door on a significant plan to ship Canadian tar sands oil, one of the most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet, to the East Coast for export to international markets, and it could offer a guide for other communities hoping to block energy projects.

Maine Town Wins Round In Tar Sands Oil Battle With Industry

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine—A federal judge has handed a win to South Portland, Maine over a pipeline company that wants to send tar sands oil through the city, a proposal seen as opening a path for Canada's crude to reach the East Coast for export. But the fight is not over. A federal district court judge dismissed on Dec. 29 all but one of the company's claims against the city. The ruling still leaves open a key question: whether the city is violating the U.S. Constitution by blocking the project. At the heart of the lawsuit is the question of local control and what—if anything—a community can do to block an unwanted energy project. The outcome could influence similar lawsuits elsewhere. When the Portland Pipe Line Corporation (PPLC) sued this small coastal city in 2015, it had some powerful allies, including the American Petroleum Institute, whose members include most major oil and gas companies.

Keystone Pipeline Spills Over 200,000 Gallons Of Tar Sands

By Robinson Meyer for The Atlantic. South Dakota - The Keystone pipeline was temporarily shut down on Thursday, after leaking about 210,000 gallons of [tar sands] oil into Marshall County, South Dakota, during an early-morning spill. TransCanada, the company which operates the pipeline, said it noticed a loss of pressure in Keystone at about 5:45 a.m. According to a company statement, workers had “completely isolated” the section and “activated emergency procedures” within 15 minutes. Brian Walsh, a state environmental scientist, told the local station KSFY that TransCanada informed the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources about the spill by 10:30 a.m.

Wells Fargo Blockaded, Demanding Divestment From Tar Sands

By Alex Cohen, for Earth Defense Coalition. On November 14, 2017, five water protectors took action in solidarity with front line Indigenous resistance efforts at Camp Makwa to stop the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota. The activists locked down to each other and used their bodies to disrupt business as usual at Wells Fargo, one of the major financial players behind this genocidal, extractive fossil fuel project. Wells Fargo has 743 million invested into Enbridge who is responsible for Tar Sands and the Line 3 pipeline threatening and ravaging through Indigenous lands, water, wild rice, and sovereignty in Minnesota. This action is one of hundreds taking place across the globe to call for divestment from financial institutions invested in the destructive fossil fuel industry.

Coastal Town Banned Tar Sands And Sparked War With Oil Industry

By Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate Change - Hundreds of miles from the nearest oil field or fracking well, the answer to this question is playing out here, as a longrunning David-and-Goliath battle over plans to pipe tar sands oil from Canada to Maine for export nears a pivotal moment. On one side is South Portland, a picturesque waterfront city of 25,000, which approved an ordinance in 2014 to outlaw heavy crude exports from its harbor in an overwhelming City Council vote. On the other is the Portland Pipe Line Corporation, the company behind the project, and its allies, including the American Petroleum Institute, whose members include most major oil and gas companies. API spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat a ballot measure in 2013 that would have blocked the project. The City Council approved the ordinance a year later. The Portland Pipe Line Corporation is now suing the city, with support from API and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, arguing the ban was unconstitutional. A federal judge is expected to rule in the coming weeks. A decision in favor of the company could effectively open a gateway for the flow of carbon-heavy tar sands oil to one of the East Coast's largest oil ports. For other cities seeking to restrict oil and gas activities, South Portland's four-year fight to fend off the oil industry offers perhaps a cautionary tale.

Elders Demonstrate Against Mine In Rocking Chairs

By Elders Rising. SALT LAKE CITY - Tuesday morning, September 26, organizers from Elders Rising called for land restoration and inter-generational justice at the PR Spring tar sands mine in eastern Utah. While sitting in rocking chairs outside the mine, seniors sang songs and held banners to bring attention to US Oil Sands’ destruction of nearly a hundred acres in the Book Cliffs, endangerment of the Colorado River Basin, and contribution to climate chaos. “As a mother and grandmother, I am here to look straight at the destruction of our land in Utah in the pursuit of boom and bust profit from mining tar sands, the dirtiest fuel on this planet,” said Joan Gregory, a member of Elders Rising.

5 Climate Activists Shut Down 5 Tar Sands Pipelines

By Dan Zukowski for Eco Watch - "This morning, by 7:30 PST, 5 activists have successfully shut down 5 pipelines across the United States delivering tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada in support of the call for International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock. Activists employed manual safety valves, calling on President Obama to use emergency powers to keep the pipelines closed and mobilize for the extraordinary shift away from fossil fuels now required to avert catastrophe."

Newsletter: Making Protest Personal; Take It To Their Homes

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Protests at homes of public officials and corporate CEOs is a common tactic used widely because it can be very effective. The response of Barrasso shows it is working and should continue. As Saul Alinsky, author or Rules for Radicals, pointed out “any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.” Such protests have to be nonviolent and conducted in a way that does not inconvenience neighbors but educates them about why the protest is occurring. These tactics seek to personalize the issue, to make it less abstract than a federal agency. The campaign should keep their focus on the people responsible, not let up, continue to escalate and make the person isolated and unpopular. The goal is to maintain constant, escalating pressure so the official pays a heavy personal price for their actions.

A Third Shutdown Of An Enbridge Pipeline

By Staff of The Council of Canadians - Early yesterday morning, someone shut down Enbridge’s Line 7 oil pipeline near Cambridge Ontario by activating a shutoff valve. This is the third time in less than a month that an Enbridge pipeline was turned off- but the first time that it was done anonymously. On December 7th, activists in Quebec closed a valve on Line 9 and locked themselves to the equipment putting the controversial pipeline out of service for most of the day and resulting in three arrests.

Canada’s Indigenous Bands Rise Up Against A Tar Sands Pipeline

By Jim Robbins for Yale Environment 360 - Sitting in his office on the outskirts of Montreal, Serge Otis Simon, council chief of the Kanesatake — a band of Mohawks — is clear about what might happen if the proposed Energy East Pipeline is routed through the band's land, in spite of their opposition. "The Warrior Society are men whose duty is given by creation to protect the land, people, and community," he told me, describing a group of Mohawks who go by that name. "I can't think of a more honorable way to be killed than standing in the way of that pipeline." The rhetoric may be extreme, but it reflects the passions surrounding the debate over oil and gas pipelines in Canada. And it may well not be...

Another Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline To Fight In Wisconsin

By Steven Verburg for Wisconsin State Journal - Crews hired by Enbridge Inc. are surveying a 300-mile corridor running the length of Wisconsin for a possible new tar sands pipeline that would be the twin to an underground line whose capacity has quietly eclipsed the projected flow of the Keystone XL project. Activists and landowners say they are worried that digging for a new pipeline would disrupt lives, lead to a repeat of environmental violations committed when the last line was laid, and increase the chances of a devastating spill of heavy crude. A spokeswoman for the Canadian pipeline giant last week said the company has improved its safety practices and said there was no timetable for building a line.
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