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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tar Sands Protestors Chain Themselves To Canadian Consulate Doors in Seattle -- In solidarity with Idle No More and Rising Tide Seattle

Seattle, WA, April 4, 2013

Two Seattle residents have chained themselves to the doors of the Canadian Consulate in downtown Seattle today protesting proposed pipelines that would bring Canadian tar sands to American refineries.

"We used to look up to Canada as an environmental leader, but promoting extreme energy like tar sands has soiled that reputation forever," said Carlo Voli, a 47-year-old Edmonds resident, as protesters poured fake oil over Canadian and American flags. Voli and Lisa Marcus, a 57-year-old Seattle resident and grandmother, have U-Locked their necks to the doors of the consulate's conference room.

Participants are protesting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and proposals to increase the number of tankers carrying tar sands through the Salish Sea. More than 50 people have been arrested at similar protests around the country this past month.

"We're here to expose the collusion between the tar sands industry and the Canadian government," explained Rachel Stoeve, a recent University of Washington graduate who was holding a banner outside the Canadian consulate, "The Canadian government and the tar sands industry are working together to bring tar sands to our communities. They're not doing it for our benefit; they're doing it for profit."

Canadian diplomats have come under criticism around the world for their aggressive promotion of the tar sands industry. In March Environmental Defense, a Toronto-based group, released nearly 1,000 pages of internal e-mails from Canadian diplomats outlining a strategy to promote the Keystone XL pipeline with American journalists. Last year, an internal memorandum released by Post-Media news revealed the Harper government had deployed a network of diplomats to lobby Fortune 500 companies in order to counter an environmental campaign targeting the tar sands. In Europe, the Canadian government has attempted to undermine the European Union's "Fuel Quality Directive" with a lobbying campaign that Friends of the Earth described as "possibly the most vociferous public relations campaign by a foreign government ever witnessed in the EU."

While the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline has become a headline issue for environmentalists around the country, Seattle residents point out that Canada's tar sands are already impacting the Salish Sea. All 5 of Washington state's refineries currently process tar sands materials, transported by Kinder-Morgan's Trans-Mountain pipeline and oil tankers. Kinder-Morgan has proposed twinning the Trans-Mountain pipeline, nearly tripling its capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 850,000 barrels per day.

"There is no safe method for tar sands transport. Kinder Morgan's plans could bring up to 360 tankers through the Salish Sea and the Department of Ecology still has no plan to deal with a tar sands spill. It's a disaster waiting to happen," warned Rachel Stoeve

The Department of Ecology estimates a major oil spill could cost the state's economy $10 billion and 165,000 lost jobs, as well as wipe out Washington state's resident Orca population.

"We've had enough of politicians on both sides of the border acting as mouthpieces for the fossil fuel industry. It's time for ordinary people to put their bodies on the line to protect our region and our climate from extreme energy," said Voli.

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