Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Tar Sands

Updates and info on ACFN's case against Shell Oil

Obama Administration Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

Today marks a day of victory for those opposing massive tar sands development in Northern Alberta.

Today Obama rejected TransCanada’s plans to extend the Keystone XL Pipeline. The extension plans would have the pipeline carrying up to 900,000 barrels/day of tar sands oil and natural gas from Alberta all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

This came out of the office of ACFN:

Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewayn First Nation:

“The decision to reject this pipeline comes from the opposition of the many Indigenous communities and our allies.  The Mother Earth Accord outlined the serious implications the pipeline would’ve had on the people, our rights and our lands.  This is a major victory for Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. We hope the Canadian government recognizes Obama’s rejection as a sign to slow down the current pace of development in the tar sands.  Rapid expansion in the tar sands has left developers struggling for inexpensive ways to ship, refine and sell their oil.  Stopping these massive pipelines is key to stopping further destruction of our territory.  We are still working to oppose Shell’s proposed tar sands expansion of open pit mining projects in our traditional territory in Northern Alberta. We hope that you all join the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation this year in opposing Shell’s projects and the development of the Northern Gateway Pipeline.  Together we can protect our lands, our futures and our treaty rights.”

It’s clear the US government recognizes the dangers associated with not only tar sands extraction, already wreaking havoc on both people and wildlife in the region, but also recognizes the risks associated with the pipelines.  The proposed pipeline stretches 2673 km from Alberta, Canada to Texas, threatening  freshwater and would lead to an increase in refinery emissions in already-polluted communities of the U.S. Gulf Coast.

It’s not hard to draw the lines of connection between the rapid expansion of Alberta’s tar sands and the need for such massive pipelines, such as the Keystone XL and the proposed Northern Gateway.

We have to continue to be on guard as the State Department in Washington has stated the company could apply again with a route that would avoid “senstive terrain”.  I just don’t see how that is possible, but I guarantee that TransCanda is going to come back with a new plan sooner then later.

For a map of Canada’s Crude Oil pipleines click here.

This announcement come during Canada’s own assessment and Joint Review Panel hearings of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline which has been met with huge opposition across the country.  I hope that the Harper government takes note of what is happening south of the border.

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