On Sunday, a crowd of around one thousand progressive environmental demonstrators met at Paseo De La Plaza on Olvera St and marched to Los Angeles's city hall. The protest was in solid opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline whose fate will be decided by Barack Obama in the near future. The keystone XL is an extension pipeline that will go from the Athabasca oil sands in Canada to the Texan Gulf of Mexico. It's purpose is to provide oil to the Southwestern United States from the oil sands and bringing the U.S. a greater level of "oil Independence".
The environmental impacts are somewhat myriad yet each and every one of those scenarios could prove to be extreme in it's destruction of aquifers and wetlands, along with animal, plant and human populations. The Ogallala Aquifer which lies beneath the great plains of the U.S. and supplies 30 percent of U.S. irrigation water would be devastated if a pipeline broke and contaminated the shallow water supply with benzine which is a component of the dilute bitumen which is flowing through the pipeline. The Keystone XL will carry 830,000 barrels per day. The pipeline is to be buried four feet down. A predicted spill frequency has been worked out by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration where over a fifty year period approximately 1.6 – 13.2 leaks will probably occur atop the aquifer. If each "spill " lasted 14 days that would be 184 days of exposure to the groundwater in 50 years of pipeline life. A pinhole leak coming from a pipe that was only flowing at a 1.5 % flow rate ( very small ) for fourteen days would result in a disastrous 7.9 millions gallons of oil spilled into one of the most important groundwater supplies in the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_risks_of_the_Keystone_XL_pipeline
Also.... The tar sands of Athabasca will yield oil from one of two methods; either surface mining which is highly destructive to Boreal forest or in-situ mining which is highly polluting and uses hydraulic fracturing and steam to get at the oil.
It has also been noted that mining tar sands oil gives off 15 to 20 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional crude oil extraction.
Canadian indigenous populations will suffer the brunt of the pipelines charms with degraded water supplies and contaminated fishing and hunting grounds. This is due to the fact that the tar sands are inside the boundaries of Treaty 8 which provides protected land for indian use. Very high cancer rates are evident in those populations although it may be due to Uranium mining done in in-situ fashion Altnet has a good article on this aspect....... http://www.alternet.org/environment/why-idle-no-more-movement-our-best-chance-clean-land-and-water?page=0%2C0
The protest was in support of the 32,000 person rally held the same day in Washington DC which was aimed at convincing President Obama to nix the deal. Many past occupiers were in attendance along with a real cross section of the Los Angeles environmental community. Old and young gathered together to talk about the future and the darker realities that climate change will bring. Congressman Henry Waxman, Ed Begely and a slew of other important and knowledgeable speakers addressed the crowd whose reactions were attentive and embracing of the information that was pouring from the climate scientists and experts on the crisis.
There was even a bit of light comedy from the "Billionaires " and a poignant musical moment from a performer named Finian Makepeace.
The following groups were instrumental in organizing the days actions in Los Angeles.
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