December 4, 2011

Tar Sands Pipeline – Action Update

The puppets of the oil and gas industry, who call themselves congressmen and women, are trying to “sweeten” the payroll tax legislation by adding a clause to undercut a recent postponement by President Obama of a highly controversial oil pipeline approval. This is another crude attempt (pun intended) to trash our environment under the false pretense of energy independence and jobs.

Stop legislative trickery – Sign the Petition Now.  What follows is designed to help you educate yourself. Please take an active role in educating others…

From a place of resignation and despair the cynics will simply say: “what do you expect?” There are billions of dollars at stake, of course, humans are going to chase the money and trash the planet. Something within me, just can’t accept that we’re that ignorant. If you’ve not been able to keep up with this issue, here is the first update: President Obama recently decided to postpone any decision on the approval of a massive oil pipeline called the Keystone XL from Alberta, Canada to Houston, Texas until after the 2012 election.

Now, the Republicans in congress want to take the authority of the President away and approve the pipeline with a sneaky attachment to the Payroll Tax Extension bill.  Let’s put some faces to the corporate players who show up in Washington to get what they want with our legislators:

Oil and Gas Executives in Washington having their way

Are you standing in the shadows, feeling defeated and overwhelmed by a dysfunctional system that only responds to corporate desires?

Cheer up, This message to humanity may lift your spirits, disturb your complacency and motivate action – It’s the best summary of the Occupy Movement yet:


We know this to be true, individuals engaged in social change and evolutionary movements must know they are not alone.  Advocates of change must also believe that proposed solutions have a good chance of succeeding. In spite of the corporate manipulation of our elected officials and their nearly complete control of our regulatory agencies, we must remember, there remains great strength in numbers. Only we can restore integrity and settle for nothing less than ethical behavior, based upon principles of justice, spiritual awareness and ecological sustainability.  I’ve said it before, we deserve the government we allow. For me, this is at the heart of the Occupy Movement.

If you would rather not see the continued degradation of our natural world at the hands of the oil and gas industries, pharmaceutical contamination of our waterways and corporate control of agriculture, it is time to come out from the shadows (watch the video I’ve offered at the end of my appeal for action). If you’re already out of the shadows, thank you and keep up the pressure, stay vigilant.

About 3 days ago, an outdoorsman in Colorado noticed black gunk seeping into Sand Creek where he was fishing. Sand Creek is next to an oil refinery that processes TAR SANDS CRUDE, it flows into the South Platte river that provides drinking water for Denver. The refinery is operated by Canadian based Suncor Energy. Here’s a glimpse into their track record:

According to a Pollution Watch fact sheet, in 2007 Suncor Energy’s oil sands operations had the sixth highest greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. While Suncor has reduced the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its oil sands operations by more than 50% since 1990, total greenhouse gas emissions from the company’s operations have increased because of growing tar sands oil production.

On April 2, 2009, Suncor was fined $675,000 for failing to install pollution control equipment at its Firebag operation near Fort McMurray, Alberta in July 2006. On the same day, Suncor was fined $175,000 for dumping untreated wastewater from a company work camp near Fort McMurray into the Athabasca River in 2007. In Denver, Colorado they were also fined more than 130,000 million dollars for violations. In 2008, 1,600 ducks died after landing on just one of Suncor’s tailings ponds. According to industry data three million gallons of waste leaks into the environment every day.

Is this the kind of legacy we want to leave behind, simply to feed our addiction to energy, a few jobs and over the top profits for share holders of oil and gas companies? When is the last time you heard anyone in congress advocating for energy efficiency or conservation of resources rather than extraction and exploitation?

Pollution all along the Athabasca River

NEWS ALERT: The Suncor refinery of Tar Sands Crude in Commerce City near Denver has been leaking  cancer-causing Benzene into Sand Creek for the past several days, with levels that are 400 times higher than the “safe” standards for drinking water.  2,200 parts per billion of Benzene have been recored, as of December 1st and the “safe” level is established at 5 parts per billion.  The EPA has demanded the leak coming from underground and contaminating the ground water as well as Sand Creek to be stopped by March of 2012 (really?) – That means for the next 4 months, we’ve got our own version of the BP  disaster in the gulf happening right in our own back yard. By the way, Sand Creek feeds the South Platte River which supplies water for Denver residents. As of today, no health warnings have been issued.  Think again, if you believe the government is adequately monitoring spills from refinery’s and pipelines – national spill detection is woefully inadequate.

Have we fallen asleep again? Have we forgotten we can resist greed and ignorance? Do you remember A Civil Action with John Travolta?

Watch this brief clip and share it:

here’s what you can do:

Tell Senator Reid and Congresswoman Pelosi not to allow any back room deals with Republicnas to force the Keystone XL pipeline on the American Public. No more compromises. Sign the Credo petition. Add your voice, as the courageous attorney in Woburn said: “sometimes to reveal the truth you’ve got to dive into the pit”.  It’s the second turning of the wheel, “how much can you tolerate without running away, hiding out, or freaking out and not doing anything”?

Consistent with the theme of my closing song, here are some words that come from someone a heck of a lot smarter than most of us:

Given the harm being done, I'd modify this - it's "both-and" for me.

As is customary, I’m offering a rousing song from Maia Sharp to stir up your passion and your appetite to take action. This is entitled Crimes of the Witness, take it to heart.

…”And you swear that you’re helpless,

Afraid of trying your compassion

Nothing ventured,  nothing lost

Always keeping to the sidelines

as if they’re never to be crossed…

safe in the shadows

Watch from a distance,

Blindly committing crimes of the witness”

onward with courage,


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