Coalition still fighting against the Keystone XL pipeline

Feb 17th Climate Justice Rally Washington DCSeveral Oklahomans, including Casey Camp-Horinek and Richard Ray Whitman, traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the national rally for Climate Justice and to register continued opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) on February 17. With construction of the Oklahoma portion of the Southern Leg of the KXL proceeding rapidly, Whitman and Camp-Horinek hope to focus national attention on this important environmental issue.

Camp-Horinek and Whitman are among the Oklahomans who have spoken emphatically against the KXL. The TransCanada pipeline crosses the territories of several Oklahoma tribes and tribal members from across the state have taken a stand against the pipeline. Camp-Horinek, who is Ponca, says the majorities of Ponca citizens oppose KXL and are concerned about the potential for devastating environmental consequences from leaks and ruptures.

Native women speak at Climate Justice rally"TransCanada told all the tribes that they would be transporting crude oil though this pipeline," said Fannie Bates with the Coalition against Keystone XL. "That is simply not true. This tar sand will become synthetic oil after it gets to the Gulf, but when it comes through Oklahoma it will be a hot, toxic cocktail of tar sand, benzene, arsenic, and a variety of other chemicals. TransCanada is destroying about 90% of the historic structures and sacred sites in its path and refuses to tell the tribes exactly what chemicals will be running through this giant pipeline."

"Our concerns also go far beyond what might happen here," says Whitman, a member of the Yuchi/Muskogee Creek tribes. "Because of the extraction of the Tar Sands, we are currently witnessing the devastation of lands considered sacred by indigenous people in Canada. Opposing the Keystone XL pipeline means standing in solidarity with all our Native brothers and sisters in the Northern US and Canada," he says.

Idle No More, the indigenous movement that began in Canada, has spread across Oklahoma, raising awareness of the connection between the KXL and the disregard for environmental and treaty concerns of Native peoples. Other groups that are speaking out against the KXL include the Sierra Club, Clean Energy Future OK, Indigenous Environmental Network, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, and the Coalition against Keystone XL.

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