Keystone XL Pipeline Cuts Through Houston Community and the Community Stands up


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The Keystone XL Pipeline continues to be a source of controversy. The project proposes creating a 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada’s tar sands region to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

by Derrick Broze

March 29, 2013

The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day. It has been delayed and rerouted over environmental concerns and resistance from citizens losing their land through eminent domain.

One particular town being affected by the pipeline is the neighborhood of Manchester in Houston. The neighborhood is in close proximity to the Houston Ship Channel and many chemical plants.

According to one recent Houston-area study children living within two miles of the Houston Ship Canal were found to have a 56 percent increased risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia compared with children living more than 10 miles from the canal.

The local schools are also ranked among the top one percent of the most polluted in the country.One of the refineries in the area is owned by the LyondellBasell Corporation.The corporation has faced scrutiny for their environmental practices and had to settle in court in the past.  LyondellBasell’s CEO Jim Gallogly  recently announced that they were “just finishing up” a $50 million upgrade to increase the Houston Refining facility’s capacity to process tar sands. In response to this the Tar Sands Blockade has stepped up it’s direct action.

Activist Perry Graham climbed a flagpole in downtown Houston in front of LyondellBasell’s office this morning and hung a banner that read, “LyondellBasell, Stay Out of Tar Sands. No KXL.” Graham said,  “By taking action today, I hope to call people to action. We just had a week of action where we saw over 55 actions across the country and over 60 people get arrested, sending a clear message to anyone who hopes to invest in tar sands that resistance will only continue if they do try to profit off other people’s suffering.”

Houston is not the only place that is being affected by this plan. The indigenous people of Alberta, Canada will be directly affected by the project. The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council­­ has voiced their opposition to the pipeline cutting across their territory without their consent, or involvement. As I have written about previously, indigenous people continue to be stomped on and treaties outright ignored.

If built, the pipeline would carry toxic tar sands from Alberta, Canada to Houston and other Gulf Coast refineries before being primarily exported overseas. There is a federal environmental review scheduled for April 18th  in Grand Island, Nebraska.

The State department will review its draft supplemental environmental impact statement, which concluded the pipeline represents minimal risk if built and operated properly. Opponents of the pipeline hope President Obama will do something to stop the progress of the pipeline.

Presidential action is not likely. President Obama has shown himself to be another president in the pocket of the banks, the corporations, and the ruling class. The Keystone XL Pipeline is a danger to the environment, a risk to property rights, an attack on indigenous peoples, and will not provide jobs to anyone along the pipeline. Check out my full report below and do your own research.

Understanding the many struggles that take place and how they affect the issues you DO care about will only empower you further. Knowledge is the first step towards action. As the Tar Sands Blockade are proving the time for action against the pipeline is now.

Derrick Broze is a founding member of The Houston Free Thinkers. He writes for a popular independent news website. He can be heard on Orion Talk Radio, Local Live Houston and the upcoming Unbound Radio. Find his and

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