RICHMOND, Va. — Standing Rock and the Keystone XL pipeline have attracted most of the media attention in recent months, but there are many pipelines proposed or being built in the United States, some through sensitive wilderness areas. In Virginia, Pagans have been standing shoulder to shoulder with Native Americans and local landowners in their effort to stop the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coastline pipelines. These pipelines “have become more urgent in northwest Virginia, where fracking wouldn’t be financially worthwhile,” according to Maya Sparks, an activist who has been involved in the recent efforts primarily by providing communications and esoteric support. “Pipelines do transport fracked gas, and that’s what they want in Virginia.”
UNITED STATES –Despite oil prices hovering some $80 a barrel below all-time highs, the push to build new pipelines to bring petroleum to refineries, and then to market continues to make headlines. Most every major pipeline proposed in recent years has been met with some level of resistance by environmentalists, on the ground or in the courts. Two Pagans, each of whom has been engaged on one of those fronts, spoke about what they’re fighting for and the challenges faced in opposing oil pipelines. When attorney Robin Martinez was interviewed in 2015, the future of the Keystone XL Pipeline was uncertain; President Obama announced in November of that year that the pipeline was being rejected for a variety of reasons. Martinez was representing a coalition of groups in South Dakota opposing the pipeline locally.
CANADA – On Nov. 29, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an announcement that the Canadian federal government was going ahead and approving two highly controversial pipeline projects. Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline project and Enbridge’s Line 3 project, could see as much as a million barrels more per day of various petroleum products from Alberta’s oilsands traveling through Canada, to the West Coast, and also over the border, into the United States. A third project, the Northern Gateway pipeline was rejected. This was a victory for protesters, as this pipeline would have crossed an environmentally sensitive area known as The Great Bear Rainforest.
Welcome to Canada – a country rich in natural beauty and natural resources. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, travelers may overdose on pristine wilderness and breathtaking landscapes. Each region of Canada has it’s own unique features and riches, but many of those riches are being extracted and exploited at an increasing, and for many, alarming rate. Western Canada is rich in oil. By now most North Americans have heard of the oil sands in the province of Alberta and the various schemes to extract the oil and move it out of Canada to the United States and beyond.
“My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves.