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July 08, 2010

Clean Energy Advocates Rally Against Tar Sands Nationwide

The momentum against bringing Canada's dirty tar sands oil into the U.S. via the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline continues.

Today across the nation are a series of rallies and public events bringing attention to this dirty and dangerous option, and the need for the U.S. State Department to not approve TransCanada's permit for this pipeline. The events are organized by Corporate Ethics International, Friends of the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club.
The background on this dirty tar sands pipeline: In an effort to save money, TransCanada has applied for a safety waiveMarch6r for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that would allow the company to operate with thinner pipe and higher pressures than standard operating procedure; they also lack a public emergency plan in the event of a leak and have not demonstrated that emergency responders have been identified, contracted or trained.
These rallies come on the heels of last Tuesday's final public hearing on the pipeline (which I blogged about here)

I attended the rally today in Washington, D.C., outside the Canadian Embassy, where many gathered wearing orange shirts that said, "Oil Spill Prevention Team" on the front and "We Want Clean Energy Now!" on the back.

One of the rally speakers was Paul Siemens (pictured below), a rancher from Draper, South Dakota, whose own land would be crossed by this pipeline if it's built.
"Is South Dakota a state of no consequence? The State Department and TransCanada want you to think so," said Draper, noting that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement from the State Department acted as if a spill in rural areas would be no big deal.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) brought in a celebrity, too - former "ER" star actress Gloria Reuben - who was born in Canada but is now an American citizen.

"These mine pits (where they get the tar sands) are so massive you can see them from space," said Reuben (pictured below), who serves on the NWF board of directors.
"Enough is enough - Secretary Clinton, we do not want any more fast-tracking for these industries," she added, pointing to the BP oil disaster and the Massey coal mine tragedy.

The ralliers then marched from the Canadian Embassy (seen below in the background, where employees gathered on the steps to see what we were up to) over to the White House, carrying signs and chanting for clean energy and against tar sands oil.
You can learn more about the fight against tar sands on our Dirty Fuels page and on our coalition website.


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