It’s been tough being 350.org lately. With the recent signing of a permit by President Donald Trump giving federal authorization for the construction of Keystone XL, the US activist group with a number for a name is looking for a re-set.
It recently published its “#No KXL Strategy Session: 5 Ways Forward to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline.”
So, inspired by the false statements of these pawns of the US foundation industry, and committed to correcting the facts wherever I can, I offer you our #ProKXL Strategy Session: 5 Ways Forward in Support of Keystone XL Pipeline and Energy Security for North America.
Here are five ways forward, in no particular order:
1. Understand the science
Be aware of the strong science behind Canadian oil and of pipeline safety. The widely respected Royal Society of Canada long ago released a 414-page report, “Environmental and Health Impacts of Canada’s Oil Sands Industry,” in which scientists, academics, operators, government officials and environmentalists knocked down the worst of the anti-oil sands hype.
In the interest of having an informed conversation it’s also important to note a local expert with 40 years of experience has found “The Pipeline Poses Minimal Risk to the Ogallala Aquifer”. We have to ask ourselves who is more credible on these topics, local experts or activists?
And fully four years ago, during the Obama administration, the President’s own State Department, in a 2,000-page report, annihilated the argument that blocking Keystone XL, and discrediting the claim it would have any significant impact on climate change. According to the Democratic-leaning Washington Post at the time, anti-Keystone activists should just hang up their misguided #NoKXL campaign.
“The (State Department) analysis underscores the extent to which activists have trumped up a relatively mundane infrastructure issue into the premier environmental fight of this decade, leading to big marches and acts of civil disobedience to advance a cause that is worthy of neither. The activists ought to pick more important fights. Until they do, the President should ignore their pressure.”
In other words, it’s time to move on, people.
2. Don’t ignore Indigenous support
Yes, there are First Nations who are unsupportive of the energy industry, including oil extraction and transmission. However, it should come as no surprise to anyone that follows energy policy and land use that strong First Nations support also exists.
In fact, project proponents have said repeatedly they recognize Indigenous communities as right holders who have a distinct relationship to the land. They’ve also said they understand the project has the potential to affect the lives and cultural values of Indigenous people in very tangible ways, and that, as a result, consultation is crucial. When Jane Fonda and Greenpeace toured the oil sands earlier this year, they certainly didn’t consult with the local First Nations that support development and work as partners with industry.
In Canada, more than 25% of all First Nations produce oil and gas now, or want to in the future. As for the oil sands, more than 300 Indigenous-owned companies are active there, and have carried out more than $10 billion in business over the last 15 years. For many Indigenous communities, that spells real progress.
3. Support KXL in your words and your deeds. That is, walk the walk, and talk the talk
If you feel North American energy trumps oil imports from political regimes notorious for human rights abuse and poor worker and environmental conditions, then tell your elected official how you feel, or write a letter to your local newspaper. Just speak up.
Our organization, CanadaAction.ca, is one of many vehicles for doing exactly that. Drop us a line, buy a t-shirt, volunteer your time and be proud.
And when you hear that 350.org wants to “double-down on pressuring cities, schools, banks and other institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies,” (yes, they’ve actually said that), then stand up and support the energy and pipeline companies that operate in your neighborhood, play by the rules, create good jobs and participate in the community.
Pressuring North American companies with unfounded claims of environmental destruction is in itself unethical. The Canadian energy sector has shown time and time again it’s fully committed to the highest environmental and ethical standards. Why do we hear absolutely nothing from activists about the pipelines and oil tankers bringing oil to North America? Canada should be the supplier of choice for anyone that cares about the environment, peace and progress.
If Canadians feel unfairly targeted by activist campaigns such as 350.org, led by US entertainers and fueled with US foundation dollars, then maybe it’s time Canadians said so.
4. Get familiar with the approval process so far. It’s been years in the making. Defend it
The Keystone XL project was first proposed in 2008. The National Energy Board of Canada started hearings in September 2009. In early 2010, the NEB approved the project, and the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission granted a permit for it to proceed.
The project then became the subject of intense scrutiny by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US State Department, both of which issued giant reports.
So, the March 2017 signing of the Presidential permit by US President Donald Trump comes after nearly a decade of analysis and discussion. Yet, here’s what 350.org said in a recent email message: “Trump rushed Keystone XL through.”
That’s a completely false claim. The process had been underway for the better part of a decade, and had included thousands of pages of analysis and thousands of hours of meetings and hearings. Be aware of it.
Fact is, the project has broad support from all levels of government including local Governors, State Senators and local municipalities.
Did you know the project has also earned the support of landowners in each state along the route? At last count 100% of the land owners nearby in Montana, South Dakota and about 90% in Nebraska have supported the project.
5. Support Canada’s record of social and environmental justice
Canada’s plays a key role in providing oil to the US and other markets from a friendly neighbour who is committed to the highest environmental, human rights and ethical standards.
When the anti-Keystone XL campaign machine cranks up again very shortly, you’ll hear opponents say you should work to stop Keystone XL at the source – “in Canada, where the oil industry is ripping up the land.” But if the issue is truly about environmental protection, worker rights and energy security, isn’t Canada the best choice by far??
Canada is third the largest oil reserve country in the world, but within that list, we dominate in virtually every other category. We’re ranked at the top for freedom, democracy, equality, social progress, freedom of belief, freedom of the internet, freedom of the press, top places to live, human development, best places to raise a family, transparency and environmental performance.
Remember this, global oil demand is increasing and is forecast to grow for decades to come. While demand is growing we also have to replace current production that is running out every year. The end result? We need 30 million barrels per day of new supply just to replace current production by 2030, in addition to new demand. The United States is importing close to 2 million barrels per day of oil from countries that don’t share the same values, or relationship as Canada and the United states do, and with Keystone XL we can displace some of that oil, create jobs and added prosperity for North America, and continue to strengthen our relationship as close friends, allies and partners.
Energy from Canada? Absolutely!
Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder/spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.