Last week in the state of Vermont, 29 communities sent a strong message to elected leaders in Montpelier and Washington, D.C. by passing a non-binding resolution that would prohibit the shipping of dirty tar sands through the Northeast Kingdom portion of the state via The Portland Pipeline.
With efforts to pump tar sands crude south and west coming up against fierce resistance, Canada’s oil industry is making a quiet attempt at an end run to the east.
The industry is growing increasingly desperate to find a coastal port to export tar sands bitumen, especially now that the highly publicized and hotly contested Keystone XL pipeline is stalled, at least temporarily, and the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project that would move tar sands crude across British Columbia to terminals on Canada’s west coast is running into equally tough opposition.
The company is resuscitating an old industry plan to link the pipeline system in the American Midwest to a coastal terminal in Portland, Maine, traveling through Ontario and Quebec, and then across northern New England. When first proposed in 2008, this project was called Trailbreaker, but Enbridge appears to be avoiding any mention of the former proposal, which spurred quick and firm resistance.
The fight against the Keystone XL Pipeline is heating up, with many positive and important developments occuring this past week, excluding the disgraceful, though unsurprising decision by the Obama for President 2012 campaign team to bring a former TransCanada lobbyist, Broderick Johnson (husband of NPR's Michele Norris), onto its upper-level staff.
Six main big ticket items stand out, in particular:
A meeting between leaders of the youth climate movement and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson on the pipeline.
A recent massive anti-pipeline action that took place in San Francisco, in which 1,000 protesters greeted Obama at one of his fundraising events for his 2012 presidential run.
An announced push-back of the Keystone XL pipeline final decision date by the State Department.
An acknowledgement, at last, by President Barack Obama that he is taking into consideration the concerns voiced by citizens nationwide about the potential risks to public health, water supplies and the global climate if he approves the Keystone XL pipeline.
Vermont is cold and the famous foliage is fading, but we're excited about this weekend. There are some great sessions lined up, and lots of interesting journalists to meet. Plus, some of our best friends also have booths here – the CEI and the Heartland Institute, for instance.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.