“Forward on Climate“, the largest climate rally ever held in this country took place yesterday afternoon in Washington, DC. The event came just five days after President Obama’s State of the Union Address, in which he called on Congress to take action on climate change.
According to organizers – a variety of environmental groups – an estimated 35,000 concerned citizens from thirty states braved sub-freezing temperatures to rally on the National Mall and march to the White House. In doing so, they urged lawmakers to reduce U.S. carbon emissions and support renewable energy. Many of the attendees, however, were specifically imploring the President to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline construction proposal.
If approved, the pipeline would carry Canadian tar sand oil across America’s agricultural heartland to refineries along the Gulf Coast. The consequences of a spill in this region would be catastrophic to farming, ranching, and the Ogallala Aquifer – an immense underground supply of freshwater used for drinking and irrigation by millions of people.
Tar sand oil is a viscous fossil fuel that is heavier and dirtier than conventional crude oil. Its extraction process is also extremely energy intensive. According to a National Resources Defense Council report, the production of one barrel of tar sand oil releases three times the amount of greenhouse gases compared to one barrel of traditional crude.
Environmental groups see the approval of the pipeline as not only sanctifying the production and use of tar sand oil, but also extending this country’s economic reliance on fossil fuels and increasing carbon pollution.
Image Credit: 350.0rg