Posted 07 September 2011, by ,Grace Scott The Hook (The Tyee), thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/
A group of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates has written a letter urging the Obama administration to stop the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the latest in a string of protests aimed at stopping the construction of the oil pipeline that would stretch from Alberta to Texas, which activists and scientists are saying could have dire environmental effects.
Nine laureates, including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, signed the letter released today by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, which comes days after a two-week stint of public protests against the construction of the pipeline occurred outside the White House.
More than 1,250 were arrested between August 20 and September 3 as demonstrators called on U.S. President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, initiated by TransCanada, which would create a 3,200-kilometre-long pipeline carrying 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day from northern Alberta tar sands to Texas refineries.
The letter released today addressed Obama directly; “(We) ask you to do the right thing for our environment and reject the proposal to build the Keystone XL…”
The Tyee has been following the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which has fostered a complicated debate between environmentalists, scientists, the oil industry, and the Obama government, who will be making a final decision on whether or not to give the pipeline the go-ahead in November.
Today’s letter voiced concerns about the environmental destruction the pipeline could cause along its path. “All along its prospective route, the pipeline endangers farms, wildlife and precious water aquifers — including the Ogallala Aquifer, the U.S.’s main source of freshwater for America’s heartland.”
The Canadian Press reported in late July, “A recent independent study by a University of Nebraska water resources engineer suggested that Calgary-based TransCanada has underestimated the number and volume of leaks that could occur along the pipeline and had not fully assessed the impact of spills on water supplies in the U.S. heartland.”
However, the U.S. State Department released a final environmental impact study a little over a week ago, stating that the Keystone XL pipeline would have no significant impact on the environment its route traverses.
In an interview with the Canadian Press published today, Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said he hopes that facts determine President Obama’s decision — not politics. “The pipeline’s proponents, (Doer) added, are hoping politics don’t come into play as U.S. President Barack Obama embarks on a re-election campaign that aims to vilify congressional Republicans.”
Grace Scott is completing her practicum at The Tyee.