Opinion

Albert Bender: Cowboys and Indians unite to fight Keystone





Albert Bender discusses the Cowboy Indian Alliance that was formed to stop the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline:
The Alliance is a coalition of Native American Nations, ranchers and farmers who live along the route of the proposed pipeline. In what is a historic first in decades, Native peoples and white farmers and ranchers are united in common cause against a common enemy. This unity was prompted by realization of the deadly danger of tar sands oil to all human beings, irrespective of race or nationality.

When tar sands oil (also known as diluted bitumen or dilbit) spills it emits a smell that causes immediate physical sickness including dizziness, burning throats, headaches and watery eyes. Bitumen is the thickest, dirtiest of oil with the consistency of peanut butter. To move it through the pipelines it must be either diluted or heated to extremely high temperatures. Tar sands oil spills pose extremely difficult cleanup problems because of the drastic measures oil companies must use to transport this hazardous sludge toward faraway refineries. This is a main reason why the Cowboy and Indian Alliance is fighting so hard to stop TransCanada from obtaining White House approval.

In Nebraska there is a massive underground water supply - the Ogallala Aquifer - that is also a source of water for several other states in the region. If TransCanada ever succeeded in ramming the KXL Pipeline through this ecologically sensitive and vulnerable region, the water supply of millions of people would be frightfully jeopardized. An oil spill would ruin the entire region beyond repair and the Native nations, farmers and ranchers realize this all too well. That is why the Alliance has resolved to do everything in its power to stop the pipeline in its oil soaked tracks.

As for the late April Alliance protest a list of organizations in support includes Oceti Sakowin People of the Seven Council Fires, Bold Nebraska, 350.org, CREDO, The Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Conservation Law Foundation, Labor Network for Sustainability, and the Natural Resource Defense Council.

Get the Story:
Albert Bender: Cowboys and Indians fighting together this week against the XL Pipeline (People's World 4/22)

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