Minnesota’s National Day of Action on Keystone XL and Tar Sands Pipelines: “Hands Across the Land”


May 17, 2014

Terry Houle, Sierra Club, 952-686-1493 (cell), terry99@gmail.com
Brian Anderson, Sierra Club, 508-271-5825 (cell), brian.anderson@northstar.sierraclub.org

Hands Across the Land - Photo Credit Terry Houle

Twin Cities Citizens Joined National Day of Action Against Keystone XL
130 people Said “No” to Dirty Fuels and “Yes” to Clean Energy

Minneapolis, MN –  As part of a national day of action, more than 130 residents of the Twin Cities and surrounding metro areas met at the Lake Street/Marshall Bridge today. They gathered to ask the president and local officials to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and other dirty fuel projects like the Alberta Clipper here in Minnesota that threaten our communities and destabilize our climate.

Enbridge, the leading pipeline operator in Canada’s oil sands region, is asking the MN Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to double the capacity of an existing northern Minnesota tar sands pipeline, the Alberta Clipper, to carry nearly as much tar sands oil as Keystone XL.

The Alberta Clipper feeds pipelines that stretch all across the Midwest, and an expansion would put rural communities, waters, and lands at greater risk of toxic spills and other hazards. If the Alberta Clipper is approved, other pipeline proposals such as the Sandpiper – a 610-mile crude oil line, which would run across Minnesota – are poised to move forward.

As millions begin to understand that we must keep dirty fuels in the ground if we are to have any hope of halting climate change, there’s a rising tide of grassroots activism demanding that we choose a clean energy future over the dangerous and dirty fuels of the past.

Brian Anderson of the Sierra Club’s Minnesota Beyond Oil and Tar Sands Committee said, “The damage from the Keystone XL and Alberta Clipper pipelines is far reaching — from worsening climate disruption to the destruction of our nation’s special places. Today we’re uniting against dirty fuels and speaking out for clean energy that will benefit us all.”

The event was locally organized by the Sierra Club North Star Chapter and MN350, and nationally by the Tar Sands Coalition and Hands Across the Sand / Hands Across the Land. Hands, founded in 2010, grew into an international movement after the BP oil disaster in April of that year, during which people came together to join hands, forming symbolic barriers against spilled oil and the impact of other forms of extreme energy.

More than 100 similar events were held across the country and around the world by Hands Across the Sand/Land and other groups. Thousands of citizens joined against a range of dirty fuel projects from the Keystone XL pipeline, to offshore drilling and seismic testing, hydraulic fracturing and LNG export terminals, tar sands mining and crude by rail, and mountaintop removal coal mining. The events also highlighted the impacts of climate disruption– rising sea levels, drought, forest fires, ocean acidification, crop loss and flooding.

“Northern Minnesota is facing an incredible number of tar sands and extreme energy expansion projects right now, from Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper to Line 3 and Sandpiper. Most of these lines cross the Mississippi River,” said Andy Pearson of MN350.

The events are aimed at steering America’s energy policy away from its dependence on fossil fuels and towards clean energy. The goal is to show leaders in all levels of government that public support is strong for moving away from dirty fuels and adopting policies that encourage clean energy instead.

“We’re here to tell our leaders that they need to protect our communities by rejecting projects that expand the extraction and use of dirty fuels,” said Terry Houle, Sierra Club North Star Chapter volunteer leader.  “We should be putting our innovation to work to accelerate the shift to clean, renewable energy and better transportation options.”

This week’s National Day of Action is another manifestation of a growing movement demanding that our leaders act quickly and boldly to address climate change.  It comes in the wake of the Department of State’s recent announcement that it was extending its review of the pipeline, and the Reject & Protect encampment in Washington, DC which dramatically highlighted the opposition of farmers, ranchers and Native Americans who would be directly impacted by the pipeline, In early March, Keystone activists presented the Administration with over 2.5 million comments opposing the pipeline.

Hands Across the Land - Photo Credit Terry Houle



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