Monday, 2 March 2015

And the debate continues...the Keystone XL pipeline

Presidential Veto for Keystone XL Pipeline, and Concerns that the Oil Industry Brings an Increased Risk of Risk and Sexual Assault.

President Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline on February 24. This is the first time in 5 years that he used his veto powers, CNN notes.  But this does not mean that the issue has ended, as the six yearlong battle over the pipeline is set to carry on, with political proponents of the pipeline seeking to override the Presidential veto. It would appear at the moment that there are insufficient votes to accomplish that.

This article (here) explains that the strong indigenous opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline construction involves more than environmental and sovereignty issues. “Community safety” is an additional concern that is noted—where the concern is that workers on the pipeline “could cause an uptick in sexual assaults against area women.|” Native American women already experience a disproportionately high rate of sexual assault. The perpetrators of the sexual assault are non-Native men, “in at least 86 per cent of the reported cases of rape or sexual assault” according to Amnesty International (here).

Links between the oil industry and an increased risk of sexual assault and rape have been raised (here and here), but this is a message that somehow seems to have attracted very little discussion. The concerns that are raised are ones that need to be addressed in any future debates about the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.

Post written by Dr Sarah Sargent.

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