UCC justice advocates applaud denial of Keystone pipeline
Written by Gregg Brekke
January 19, 2012
United Church of Christ and other faith leaders opposed to Keystone
XL pipeline proclaimed their support of President Obama's January 18 decision
to deny a permit for construction of a 1,700-mile pipeline that would have
transported heavy crude oil trapped in tar sands from Alberta, Canada to the
Gulf of Mexico for refinement.
The UCC's Massachusetts Conference Minister, the Rev. Jim
Antal, and the UCC's Policy Advocate for
Domestic Issues in the Washington, D.C., office, the Rev. Mari Castellanos,
were arrested on separate days last summer during the organized protest against
the pipeline's construction.
love God love creation and today – from Nebraska to New York; from
Massachusetts to Monterey – people of faith are rejoicing," said Antal.
"President Obama has rejected the lobbyists and their congressional representatives.
The President has heard our cry and pondered the testimony of 1,257 witnesses
arrested at his front door last August. In rejecting Keystone, he is
inviting all of us to push him to keep moving ahead. We must give voice
to a vision of a sustainable planet."
jubilant at the decision, but recognizes proponents of the pipeline are looking
at other options for its construction. "This was worth getting arrested for," she said. "Even if we
have to do it again when they consider the more western route [for the
pipeline], at least the sand hill cranes are safe for now."
denial allows the pipeline's owner, TransCanada Corporation,
to submit an application with a new route that avoids the sensitive habitat of
Nebraska’s Sandhills. The administration’s decision includes language making it
clear that TransCanada can reapply, stating, “The determination does not
preclude any subsequent permit application or applications for subsequent
Director and CEO of UCC global mission partner Church World Service the Rev. John L. McCullough said the controversial project would have been a
backward step in the administration's commitment to investing in clean and
renewable energy sources.
humanitarian organization, CWS and our partners work directly with people who
already have been struggling for years to overcome the devastating effects of
climate change on their lives, especially in regard to food security. We
cannot make their burden any heavier by exhibiting a lack of care for this
planet," said McCullough.
The UCC's Minister for Environmental Justice the Rev. Jim
Deming offered his personal thanks to those who protested, advocated with
elected officials or took part in grass root awareness campaigns.
we may look back at this moment as the turning point in the campaign where we
turned our backs on dirty and unhealthy energy sources and began to work
towards substantial changes in the energy economy," said Deming. "For
now, we can celebrate the moment, but know that the road ahead will remain
difficult until we finally say goodbye to those who would foul the air and water
for their own personal gain."
More information is
available at the UCC's
environmental justice site.