Environmental and health impacts: According to the GPTSR group, the tar sands mining project in northern Alberta is the “largest industrial project in the history of humankind” and is capable of destroying an area of pristine boreal forest the size of Florida.
“The corrosive nature of tar sands makes pipelines much more prone to leaks than transporting crude oils, and when spills occur, the heavier diluted bitumen sinks into the water table,” a GPTSR release stated.
The Keystone XL Pipeline will not only cross major watersheds but also the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking and agricultural water for huge sections of the American Midwest, the press release stated.
During the meeting last week, a GPTSR member said one of the main reasons for protesting is to stand up for the people in Canada who are dying of cancer because of the project.
“One of the main reasons I’m doing this, personally, is because the same system that’s been exploiting this earth, and this continent, and the people who lived here first, the same system is continuing the genocide of 500 years of indigenous people,” the member said.
While oftentimes we tend to focus on “our state” and “our backyard,” the tar sands resistance member said this is a system that affects the whole planet.
“Together, we will either be annihilated or we’ll find the strength to come together,” the member said.
Upcoming GPTSR events: The Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance group will have a training camp March 18-22 in Ponca City for those wanting to protest the pipeline. Those interested are encouraged to be prepared to camp out and bring warm clothing, sleeping bags or blankets and tents. Meals will be provided. Donations will be accepted.
A concert and educational event regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline will be from noon to 6 p.m. March 24 in Andrews Park in Norman and will feature a Buffy Sainte-Marie concert, tar sands teach-in and civil disobedience training. Donations of $5 are suggested.
For more information, visit gptarsandsresistance.org.