On the last day of January, as the press diverted their eyes to the Super Bowl, the State Department released a conflict of interest riddled environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. On Monday, the 3ed of February, at least 7,000 people took part in hundreds of vigils demanding Obama reject the pipeline. One of the vigils was in front of the White House, complete with a replica pipeline segment.
Speakers referred to the 90 day comment period which is in effect right now, and ends 90 days from Jan 31 with a 2 week up or down decision period by Obama. There was a chorus of boos when a speaker mentioned the 2 year prison terms three Michican activists (The MiCATS 3) are facing after receiving felony convictions for nonviolent blockades against an Enbridge tar sands pipeline in their home state. That conviction was on the same day the State Department released the EIS for TransCanada’s Keystone XL. Some suspect this is a deliberate shot across the bow of the up to ten thousand people who have signed pledges to engage in civil disobediance if the pipeline gets final approval.
Speaking of shots across the bow, the Lakota Nation has fired one of their own across TransCanada’s bow. They are calling this project the Black Snake, a name that has previously been used to describe projects like the railroad that brought suffering and death to the Lakota. Now people are mentioning that the Black Snake goes underground, and the Lakota Nation and many allies are assuming Obama intends to approve this pipeline and that an all-out right, mile by mile over 1,700 miles of pipe will be the only way to stop it.
I think the Lakota are right, and we are in for the fight that will define our generation, the fight people’s grandchildren will ask them about. Indigenous people have always understood that there is no place to go home to if your land is destroyed, now many others may face the same fate if the tar sands are burned and the climate is wrecked.