Thursday, February 14, 2013
This Sunday, over 20,000 people are expected to gather in Washington D.C. to rally against the further development of the Keystone XL Pipeline. For those who are unaware, the pipeline in question is being built by the TransCanada Corporation from Alberta, Canada all the way down to Texas, and will be transporting tar sands oil. Greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands production are 2 - 3 times that of conventional oil production, and emit many other pollutants hazardous to inhabitants near the area of production. James Hansen, NASA climate scientist, has predicted that it will be “game over for the climate” if the tar sands are continued to be exploited.
What really bugs me most about the issue, strangely enough, is not even the environmental and human rights issues that would come of the pipeline, but the lies and assumptions put forth by proponents of the project. For instance, most jobs created by KXL would be temporary, and the local communities surrounding the pipeline would not see much benefit.
Furthermore, KXL would not reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, as it is an export pipeline, and it will actually increase gas prices in the U.S. Don’t believe me? TransCanada’s application for the pipeline stated,
“Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude, principally PADD II [U.S. Midwest], are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil. Access to the USGC [U.S. Gulf Coast] via the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to strengthen Canadian crude oil pricing in [the Midwest] by removing this oversupply. This is expected to increase the price of heavy crude to the equivalent cost of imported crude. The resultant increase in the price of heavy crude is estimated to provide an increase in annual revenue to the Canadian producing industry in 2013 of US $2 billion to US $3.9 billion.”
I have been working with the rest of the E-Board of the IC Environmental Society to organize a trip down to D.C. for the protest for the past month. All told, IC, Cornell, and the town of Ithaca will be sending four full buses down to the protest! This will be the biggest climate rally to date, and I am very excited to see what comes of it!
Sunday, February 10, 2013
After experiencing a very disappointing winter last year, I am very happy to finally see Ithaca receive plenty of snow! While the snow might dissuade people from going out to a party or visiting friends across campus, it did no such thing for this environmental studies major! I saw it as a perfect opportunity to go exploring the Ithaca College Natural Lands through a different medium than what I am used to. Taking out my cross-country skis for the first time in a year, I went to the campsite from my Winter Sentinels class and analyzed some fox tracks, stalked deer by the powerline cut, and took some great pictures that I will submit to the ICNL photo contest. Ithaca College has so much to offer during the winter, that no environmental studies or science major should ever be bored! And if you don't have the right equipment to go out trekking in the snow, everything can be rented at the Office of Recreational Sports. I can't wait to get out there again! I think next time I'll try snowshoeing...