Barlow and McKibben, September 2011
Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow writes, “It is a sweet victory. President Obama has listened to his people and his better nature and rejected the Keystone Pipeline. …The tar sands of Northern Alberta have become a symbol of the destructive side of globalization and a flashpoint in the debate about alternative futures. With their heavy carbon footprint and their destruction of watersheds, the tar sands have become an international symbol of excessive development and the clear reason behind Canada’s abandonment of its Kyoto commitment. …The fight against the Keystone and other pipelines is that they represent unparalleled growth in the dirty oil industry, essentially shutting out the search for alternatives. When untold billions are spent in building the delivery system for this industry, the imperative is set to exponentially increase production.”
Early yesterday evening, Bill McKibben wrote, “Make no mistake—this is a brave decision. And make no mistake about this either—Big Oil will do everything it can to overturn that decision, because they are not used to losing. …What you’ve done these past eight months is quite amazing—and against all the odds. We’ve won no permanent victory (environmentalists never do)… Blocking one pipeline was never going to stop global warming—but it is a real start, one of the first times in the two-decade fight over climate change when the fossil fuel lobby has actually lost.”
Barlow adds, “On this day, I think back to that lovely warm September day when a number of us crossed a police barrier on Parliament Hill and were arrested for our opposition to Keystone. I think back to that November day in Washington, when, under the leadership of Bill McKibben of 350.org and other wonderful American allies, 12,000 of us surrounded the White House and demanded that sanity prevail in the decision about this project. All of us who addressed the crowd that day spoke about the right of future generations to clean air and water and a healthy future on a living planet.”
And Barlow warns, “Proponents of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline that would ‘punch a hole in the Rockies’ to carry this oil to western ports for Asian export should be put on notice: the powerful coalition of community, environmental, labour and justice groups that came together across the Canada-US border to stop Keystone in its tracks is on the move. Under the leadership of the First Nations people along the pipeline’s proposed path, this growing peoples’ movement will take great heart from this victory. The Gateway will never be built.”
To read Barlow’s full comments on the Huffington Post Canada website, please go to http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/maude-barlow/enbridge-keystone_b_1214792.html?ref=canada. To see the video of Barlow speaking “on that November day in Washington”, go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11881.