A group of some 30 or so intrepid folks in their 20s to 70s or older gathered in the cold night air on Feb. 3 to keep a candlelight vigil in Davis because they were so moved by recent events. Some had rallied earlier in the evening as part of a group of 100 or so marching from the Moss Federal Building to the Matsui Federal Courthouse in Sacramento, about a half-mile, coming home to Davis to join the others.
The impending decision by President Obama and John Kerry, our secretary of state, on whether to approve the final phase of the Keystone XL pipeline from eastern Alberta to southeastern Nebraska motivated 10,000 others across the country to gather and show disapproval of this final 3-foot-diameter crude oil line extension through Montana and South Dakota.
The oil being extracted from the Athabaska tar sand in Alberta is quite costly to U.S. citizens in terms of economic issues (increased costs for gasoline in the Midwest, loss of property through public domain takeovers), climate issues (excessive greenhouse gases being generated from the extraction and delivery of this more viscous bitumen), environmental issues (risk of oil spills from accidental or other events, land clearance and loss of vegetation and wildlife habitat due to pump stations and infrastructures needed to maintain hundreds of miles of pipeline), and on and on.
One of the key issues that hasn’t been answered is whether the transport of Canada crude oil through the United States (by rail if not by pipeline) will augment the domestic supply or will instead be exported overseas to countries such as China through our Gulf Coast ports. In addition to these issues, the environmental costs to Alberta through the years of extracting oil sands have been tremendous due to leaking containment ponds; contaminated surface water supplies; bird, mammal and fish mortalities; and the rampant use of vast quantities of water in the extraction process.
Because of these concerns, citizens are addressing their consciences and standing up for a more wholesome world for ourselves and for the future by saying no to the Keystone XL pipeline.