#MidwestUnrest: Bringing the Climate Fight to John Kerry
At least 100 activists from Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, and other sections of the Midwestern U.S staged an action in front John Kerry’s house in Washington D.C., earlier today, demanding that the State Department block the expansion of the Alberta Clipper, a pipeline commissioned in 2010 by Enbridge Energy to transport oil from the Alberta Tar Sands. Over twenty activists were arrested after blocking the entrance to Kerry’s house for four hours.
Much like Keystone XL, the Alberta Clipper crosses the U.S.-Canada border and Enbridge was required to apply for the Presidential Permit in 2012. The original proposal was to double the capacity of the Clipper, but after many delays in the approval process, they decided to instead construct a “Bypass Project” which will divert the oil through Line 3, an older Enbridge line from 1969 which was approved with a much less specific Presidential Permit. Once the oil crosses the U.S. border, it will transfer back to the Clipper, thus circumventing the environmental review process.
While it should be obvious that Enbridge is trying to transport as much Tar Sands oil as possible without a review, the State Department approved the project without much of a challenge. According to e-mails obtained by DeSmogBlog, the State Department was essentially rushed by Enbridge, citing that the energy company needed to begin construction in a few weeks. Instead of respecting their own processes and taking a stand to protect the environment, the State Department have cleared the way for hundreds of thousands of tons of Tar Sands to begin crossing the border into Minnesota once the project is complete in 2017.
The oil which will be sent through the pipeline is 15-20% dirtier than normal oil, as it contains bitumen, a heavier tar-like hydrocarbon. The Tar Sands also emits more carbon during both production and usage, which is why allowing pipelines like Keystone XL are counterproductive to preventing the severe impacts of climate change. Pipeline bursts and spills are also a major threat to wildlife, natural habitats, infrastructure, and public health in general.
Just five years ago, another Enbridge-owned pipeline burst on the Kalamazoo River, which eventually flowed into the Michigan River and surrounding waterways. Pipeline regulators later found that Enbridge Energy committed dozens of safety violations, meaning that the spill could have been prevented.
Here is a video from today’s action, courtesy of News2Share:
Also, check out our Storify, which features pictures, video, and tweets from the ground: