Winona LaDuke: No one believes in the 'black snake' pipeline

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has set up a prayer camp to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline. The route crosses through treaty territory in South Dakota. Photo from Bold Nebraska

Activist Winona LaDuke, the executive director of Honor The Earth, calls on politicians to reject the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline and look for long-term energy solutions:
The hydra of pipeline proposals across North America should give us cause to pause- and say... what are we doing? Spending $l00 billion on oil infrastructure in the face of climate change, and in the face of crumbling American infrastructure shows a hemorrhaging in a North American economy that is at a crossroads. The question is where we will go, and if politicians will buckle to oil interests, and not protect long term American energy security.

Here’s what the Lakota are saying. The tar sands oil is the most environmentally destructive oil on the face of the earth, and the industry retooled their North American energy industry to extract extreme oil- from the tar sands utilizing fracking, rather than buy conventional oil from Venezuela, with the largest oil reserves in the world. That decision is destabilizing North American infrastructure. Spending money on what will be “ stranded assets” of pipelines for no good reason, will destabilize our economy over the long haul as oil spills, climate change, and a lost opportunity to become energy efficient and self-sufficient with renewables and post petroleum choices throws us into a long term economic downward spiral.

Think about this: It’s anticipated that we will spend 20 percent of world GDP on climate related disasters by 2020. We might want to avert that by not pillaging the tar sands (with 240 gigatons of carbon under some pristine ecosystems). Instead we might want to concentrate on infrastructure for people and future generations. North Dakota, for instance could be the largest exporter of wind and hemp oil in North America, it would just take Senators Hoeven and Heidkamp to have some vision and long term commitment to the state. Let’s think about what $7 billion in investments could buy if we thought about the economy and energy of this country. A recent study analyzed employment from the Keystone XL proposal, versus needs and employment for other options. The study found that spending money on unmet water and gas infrastructure needs in the five relevant states along the KXL pipeline route will create more than 300,000 total jobs across all sectors, or five times more jobs than the KXL, with ninety five times more long term jobs.

Get the Story:
Winona LaDuke: The Black Snake Hears a Song: Declaring War on the Keystone Pipeline (Indian Country Today 11/21)

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