Letter to the Editor

Another Keystone?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

With the Keystone Pipeline finally laid to rest, the national coalition that helped secure victory must turn its attention to the Bakken Pipeline.

Don't be fooled: Bakken is the replacement for Keystone -- a fact that became crystal clear to me during my 400-mile walk along the pipeline's proposed path earlier this year. Bakken's ultimate target is Alberta's tar-sands oil, not North Dakota's "sweet" crude.

Four years ago when the battle to stop Keystone was engaged, scientists claimed that building Keystone would be "game over" for climate. If that's true, Bakken is just as much a threat.

With Dakota Access pushing aggressively to build the Bakken line before opposition broadens beyond the four targeted states, the national coalition that stopped Keystone needs to engage immediately.

Can the grassroots coalitions in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois stop Bakken on their own? Perhaps. (In Iowa, visit Bakken Pipeline Resistance and No Bakken Here for daily updates.) But a broader coalition from across the country would be more powerful -- and more likely to light a fire under state and federal officials.

So take a moment, both to celebrate our Keystone victory and to take the next step:

* Congratulate Bold Nebraska, who through incredible creativity and tenacity built an unstoppable coalition of ranchers, farmers, Native Americans, property-rights advocates, environmentalists and climate activists.

* Thank President Obama for his leadership in denying TransCanada's request for a permit.

* Write to any national environmental, property rights, climate or land stewardship organization you're affiliated with and tell them in the strongest possible terms to make Bakken the next target in stopping the expansion of fossil-fuel infrastructure.