Monday, 12 March 2012

Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline Update

Last Monday, dramatically, there was a human blockade on the Pine Ridge Reservation to prevent trucks carrying heavy loads of parts intended for the Keystone XL pipeline (previous blog post at this link) Though the passage of the trucks was prevented, five people were arrested. This raises some perplexing questions about sovereignty on the Lakota Nations land. Who has the say about what happens on these lands? Whose laws were broken and who is enforcing them? It is also clear that the trucks desired to go through the Lakota Nations land in order to avoid payment of $100,000 of fees for the use of state highways. Heavy trucks do a great deal of damage to roads—thus the high cost of permits. So the route through the Lakota Nation lands was a clear attempt to avoid paying for damage that the trucks would cause—and never mind the great deal of harm that will be caused if the plans for the pipeline were to go through as planned—danger to drinking water, to human health, to the environment. Pipeline proponent thinking at least remains consistent.

This video –showing the protest in action—presents a very clear picture of the arguments against the trucks passing through. If there are standing resolutions which would forbid the trucks to use the Lakota Nations roads, why was it the protesters who were in the end arrested? Does it not matter if the law of the Lakota Nation is violated?

There is at least some good news to report on the latest attempt to push approval of the Tar Sands pipeline through the US Senate. A vote taken last Thursday, March 8, in the US Senate defeated legislation that would have permitted the construction of the tar sands pipeline. Politicians however apparently do not intend to have this as the final fate of the tar sands pipeline, according to comments in this news story on the outcome of the Senate vote.

For those not familiar with the debate on the tar sands and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the video “Downstream” presents information on the hazards that the plans present.

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