Anger and protest against Keystone XL pipeline keeps growing

People just won’t be quiet about this oil company slash at the planet and America-

Developing the Alberta tar sands keeps getting more and more controversial. First it was the pits and the megaloads, but now the anger has shifted to the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring the said-to-be toxic syncrude from Alberta to Texas for refining. The first Keystone pipeline, which is much smaller and has been in use, has been plagued by leaks.

The XL would cross the Ogallala aquifer, one of the most important in America, underlying parts of 6 states. It is not well known to the general public because like so many other things geography is hardly taught in school nowadays.

Hundreds of activists have been arrested in front of the White House protesting this pipeline plan. Many of those arrested have been prominent individuals, most of whom very likely supported Obama in the 2008 election.

It was, and is, claimed this pipeline will create many jobs, but several reports have now come out indicating it will create few net jobs, and maybe none at all. As a result, some labor union support is backing off of support. The report, “Pipe dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of Keystone XL” by Cornell University Global Labor Institute has been one of the most damaging to the job creation argument in favor of the pipeline.

Today thousands of people paraded outside the White House against the pipeline. Obama has said he will make the decision personally, so this is one that could determine if he has a second term.

Keystone XL: Thousands Gather Outside White House In Culmination Of Protests. By Lucia Graves. Huffington Post.

Meanwhile money from Canadian oil is being spent in big amounts trying to keep Canadians in line as well as to propagandize the American public. These tar sand oil ads about jobs are running on Idaho television, for example.

There are a lot of jobs in Ft. McMurray, center of the tar sand mining.  The divisive issues are about what the development and distribution does to jobs in other places, to alternative energy that is not fossil-fueled, to wildlife in the Province (clearly bad for the woodland caribou), and finally to the carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere (and indirectly other greenhouse gases like the much more potent methane).

This issue is gigantic, rich corporate power against the growing, intense, often Internet-spread grassroots opposition. Will it be money or democracy that wins?



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  1. Nancy Avatar

    A local TV station recently did a piece on people from the Bozeman area, migrating to Williston, ND to take advantage of the new jobs being created by oil production. Such a shame that with all the clean technology out there, waiting to be utilized, we’d rather continue to destroy the enviornment.

  2. CodyCoyote Avatar

    Well, if this MSNBC article turns out to be the harbinger of truth , the Keystone XL and indeed all hydrocarbon source fossil fuel use may be antiquated. That cannot come too soon.

    Yup. Our old friend Cold Fusion. Sorry to siderail this Keystone XL discussion to another track so early on. I’m one of those who believes the Alberta tar sands are an abomination , and Keystone XL is being promoted duplicitously with great disinformation.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      This would make a complete transformation of things, but as it is said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary amounts of evidence.” There is no theoretical explanation how cold fusion could work. As a result demonstration that it does work must come from a large scale device that produces a lot of power for which there is no good alternative explanation than cold fusion. Right now it is like the claim that the neutrinos actually traveled faster than light in the recent experiment. Scientists want replication and an examination how the experimental procedures may or may not create the illusion, but not the reality, of traveling a bit faster than light.

      1. jdubya Avatar

        I love this stuff. If it works, these guys would be raking in the dough. Instead they live by marginal press releases. Plenty of places in Italy to live off the grid. Hell, fire one of these things up and live off of it on a desolate island in the sea. That will answer the question.

  3. james Avatar

    what is a shame is all the companies and individuals who are collecting borrowed fed notes for constructing the environmental friendly and subsidized friendly environment that can be shut off and used as a tool for forced survitude and distroy americas independance with the only option of kissing the queens ass.

  4. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Obama has demonstrated time after time that he is controlled by the same corporate money that Bush was. Watch for him to approve the pipeline and lie to us about his reasons for doing so.

  5. jdubya Avatar

    No question that the tar sands ARE an abomination and a catastrophe regarding C02 emissions and global warming. That said, if I was a betting man I would bet Obama will screw his base supporters once again and allow the pipeline to be built. Safe to say this would not even be a discussion if any of the repubs up for the nomination were sitting presidents.

  6. CodyCoyote Avatar

    P.S. if you haven’t already seen images of the immense scope of the Alberta shale project near Fort MacMurray , Wired Magazine online has just published a pictorial.

    You can also do your own aerial inspection by ” flying” there in Google Earth. The imagery is recent.

  7. Salle Avatar

    Looks like the Koch Brothers are set to rule the world… unless OWS and the XL protests are truly successful in shutting them down. A long time ago I felt that Richard Nixon should have been put on an open raft, naked, in the Mekong Delta and sent adrift to be devoured by mosquitoes and other things that slowly eat one’s flesh to let him feel the impact of his decisions. I feel that the Kochs need to be treated about the same, send them adrift in the oceans with no support of any kind, including food. I wouldn’t conger up such treatment for anything other than that caliber of human. (And I have considered that they would be a pollutant on the seas but they need to be muzzled and their wealth redistributed since the only intentions they exhibit for that wealth is to bring about the demise of any form of equality and reason. There is no valid reason for them to exist at this point as they are a cancerous malady in the biosphere.

    1. Joanne Hunt Avatar
      Joanne Hunt

      I’m from VT but have been coming out to Yellowstone for years, watching wolves, bears, and all the amazing wildlife out there. I’ve also been following this website which I love.
      I was at the protest in DC this w/e . . . it was great !!! There was so much good energy plus lots of young people protesting for the first time. Please keep up the support and pressure for Obama to say no to this pipeline.

    2. Paul Avatar


      I am not sure how much of an impact that it has had, but after the Koch funded and supported debacle in Wisconsin many have boycotted products manufactured by their subsidiaries. They literally have their hands in everything. Here is a site that lists their products:

      Unfortunately, it does not list the politicians that they own as well.

  8. jdubya Avatar

    Latest word is delayed until after the election. Delay means killed. Like a pocket veto….

  9. john-gg Avatar

    Delayed until after the election, at which time it will be approved by whichever guy gets elected. Might not matter for some regions though…


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan