One thing is clear as Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama head into decision-making time on Keystone XL's northern half: ERM has always been able to turn a blind eye to serious environmental impacts.
On December 20, both chambers of the U.S. Congress passed a little-noticed bill to expedite permitting for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on public lands in the Bakken Shale basin, located predominantly in North Dakota.
there's a fork in this controversial pipeline system that has largely flown under the radar: TransCanada's Houston Lateral Pipeline, which serves as a literal fork in the road of the southern half of Keystone XL's route to Gulf Coast refineries.
As someone who believes all social justice issues are interrelated, here was a chance to take a stand in defense of families being torn apart by an immigration system that flies in the face of our nation's immigrant history, and the bedrock American value of justice for all.
Unlike Keystone XL -- which would carry diluted tar sands diluted bitumen ("dilbit") south to the Gulf Coast -- Kinder Morgan's Cochin pipeline would carry the gas condensate (diluent) used to dilute the bitumen north to the tar sands.
That 600-mile long, 600,000 barrels per day proposed line runs from Flanagan, Illinois - located in the north central part of the state -- down to Cushing, Oklahoma, dubbed the "pipeline crossroads of the world."
Public Citizen has released a chilling report revealing that the 485-mile KXL southern line is plagued by dents, faulty welding, exterior damage that was patched up poorly and misshapen bends, among other troubling anomalies.
We're not easily intimidated. It may have been awhile since we acted like it as a whole, but this is still the land of the free and the home of the brave, and we don't take kindly to outsiders pushing us around.
Now, the "ethical oil" campaign has a new backer: Anita Dunn, former White House Communications Director for President Barack Obama and current Principal of SKDKnickerbocker, a public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C.; New York City and Albany.
Here's the inconvenient truth about the Keystone XL: TransCanada does not need the pipeline's northern leg to begin pumping hundreds of thousands of barrels of toxic tar sands daily through America's breadbasket for export overseas.
At over 200 events today -- from Alaska to Nebraska -- people are "Drawing the Line" against the Keystone XL pipeline, tar sands and other dirty energy projects. The day's events are being coordinated by the climate campaign 350.org with help from scores of partners.
Feeling the pressure from protest against the Keystone XL, Obama pulled a fast one: "wait and see" for XL's northern half -- which many claimed as a victory -- and expedited approval of everything else via executive order.
Nearly 30 years later, as climate change takes center stage as the defining issue of our time, many are wondering role civil disobedience might play in creating a tipping point beyond which business as usual will simply no longer be possible.
This 90-percent Latino community is literally surrounded by petrochemical facilities that spew at least eight carcinogens into the air. The levels of one of them, benzene, are so high that living in Manchester is tantamount to being stuck in traffic 24/7.