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100 Mayors Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline

by Friday, Dec. 02, 2011 at 2:22 PM

20% of the earth's people are using up 80% of the earth's resources. Time for resource-sparing lifestyles and work sharing! Will the US make the transition from empire to republic and from excess to access? Like capitalism, the Keystone XL pipeline is full of contradictions.

Mayors Take Stand Against Tar Sands

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy was one of the first of more than 100 mayors from 28 states and representing 8.5 million people who called upon the Obama administration to deny the permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project. The pipeline “would bring very high-carbon tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf refineries,” Piercy says.

In response to pressure from communities and environmental organizations and in view of the pipeline’s possible effects on sensitive wetlands and water, President Obama decided to conduct a new environmental review of the pipeline, a decision Piercy says she supports.

Piercy was also one of 25 mayors who sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in late March expressing concern over the Keystone pipeline and asking the State Department to look at how the expansion of high-carbon tar sands imports can undermine municipal clean energy initiatives.

According to Piercy, “Tar sands have three times the greenhouse gas emissions in production as conventional oil.”

At least two tar sands related pipelines have spilled into U.S. rivers. The EPA recently released the information that the July 2010 Enbridge oil spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River released 300,000 more gallons of oil into the river than previously thought. More than 1.1 million gallons of tar sands oil has been recovered from the spill site, according to the EPA. This summer’s Exxon Silvertip pipeline spill into Montana’s Yellowstone River is currently estimated at 1,000 barrels.

The pipeline might be far away, but it can still affect Eugene. Piercy says, citing the letter: “For communities like ours we worry that ‘expansion of high carbon fuels such as tar sands undermines the hard work by local communities everywhere to fight climate change, reduce dependence on oil and create a clean energy future.’”

Michael O’Leary of Tar-Free Future, working on the tar sands issue in Oregon says, “10 percent of Oregon’s fuel is tar-sourced.”

Piercy says, “Mayors working together all across the country can have an influence on national decisions and help build understanding of how these federal decisions affect everyday Americans. We know the kind of future all our families want for their kids and that motivates us to join together to speak for our communities.” — Camilla Mortensen

Letters to The Eugene Weekly, November 23, 2011


The Occupiers have a problem identifying with a specific course of political action that they support. But, that lack of focus only further explains why so many Americans feel that the American Dream has either passed them by or is now only a hoax meant to divert our attention while the robber barons continue to steal the American Dream from us.

It used to take many years, sometimes decades, for the capitalist system to create the conditions that lead to wide-spread social unrest. From the crisis of the Second Bank of the United States in 1819, to the New York Stock Exchange crash of 1929, to Black Wednesday in 1992, and finally to the Great Recession of 2008, the financial meltdowns have come with increased regularity.

The capitalist system relies on two major conditions: the ever expanding market for goods and services produced, and a population capable of purchasing those goods and services. What has happened is that the reduction of the ability of the middle class to buy the output of the capitalist system has caused the market to become drastically reduced.

If the Occupiers are not especially articulate it is because they are still in the grips of an economic culture that they expect will produce results for the 99 percent as well as the 1 percent of the population. The fact is that the system as it now enforced is in the process of strangling the very market it needs to continue to exist. The solution to this is not more police action to break up the Occupier camps or even more Occupier camps; it is a retooling of the American Dream to make it consistent with the legitimate desires of all the population, the 99 percent and the 1 percent, to live free and to have a life of dignity and self-respect.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene


What becomes of a country where the outcome of every election depends on pleasing the "lowest common denominator"? When you have to cater to an electorate incapable of educating itself on important issues that may have ill effect for every part of their daily lives? An electorate so ignorant, and that's putting it nicely, that they can't even tell you who Clarence Thomas is?

The lowest common denominator. Which party will the rabble anoint as their fearless leader?

I fear for the future of this country whenever elections can be bought by the highest bidder instead of won by the person with the most integrity, empathy and intelligence to lead this nation ahead instead of backward.

God help us.

John DeLeau, Springfield


"The Risks of the Keystone XL Pipeline," LA Times, July 14, 2011,0,6833153.story

"Climate Game Over," November 2011

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