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Local activist on Keystone XL pipeline

From Al Jazeera English, of course:

David Daniel had never been to an environmental protest before this week, but as hundreds converge in Washington for civil disobedience against a massive oil pipeline, the retired carpenter from Texas is spearheading opposition against what he calls "dirty Canadian tar sands oil".

Some 275 environmentalists have been arrested since protests began August 20 against TransCanada's proposed 2,700 km Keystone XL pipeline. Currently, TransCanada operates the Keystone line which can carry 591,000 barrels of tar sands oil to Oklahoma and Illinois.

The $7bn project aims to expand daily capacity to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil travelling from Alberta, Canada, through America's heartland, to refineries on the Gulf coast.

"For me, from day one, it has always been about safety issues," Daniel said, as he drove to Washington to rally opposition. "They are disrespecting the safety of our water supplies. They lied to me about permitting, payments and damage systems," Daniel told Al Jazeera in reference to TransCanada. "I don't want my family to be a lab rat for a foreign oil company."

The Calgary-based multinational did not respond to Al Jazeera's interview request [shocker!].

Worrying about the safety of his land, David Daniel has a different take on national security. "The regulatory authorities are looking at the short term interests of the oil industry, not our long term interests," he said. "We need to be considering our air and water as national interests."

Once again, "They are disrespecting the safety of our water supplies. They lied to me about permitting, payments and damage systems." That's true of all these extractive, second-world economy projects: Keystone XL and tar sands, mountaintop removal, fracking, landfilling, and it always comes out in the permitting process. They lie about safety, they lie about the money, they lie about the groundwater. It's as if our feral elite have a three-ring binder on the shelf somwhere, and whenever they want a playbook for a new project, they fill in the blanks with the name of a new corporation, a new technology, and whatever it is they want to extract. But really, it's the same playbook all the time (though they might hire some expensive lawyers and PR weasels to do the needed obfuscation).

And if you envision a sustainable economy with a lot more local agriculture, then polluting the groundwater is an existential threat. (No, bottled water, ironically produced by another extractive project, won't help with sustainable ag.) And that's before we get to greenhouse gases, carbon footprint, and the rest of it.) Daniels is right.

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