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Pipeline foes in the river valley

Demonstrators gather on the Callicoon Bridge to protest the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. They are Liz Bucar, left, Rosie Starr, Norm Starr, Bernie Handler, Martin Springhetti and Naomi Teppich.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
February 5, 2014

CALLICOON, NY — With the Upper Delaware River drifting by in the darkness, half a dozen local people turned out to the Callicoon Bridge on the evening of February 3 to offer their opinions about the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

On January 31, the U.S. State Department issued a report, which, according to the advocacy group MoveOn, was co-authored by an oil industry contactor. The report said that construction of the pipeline would not significantly worsen global warming.

The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day of tar-sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast. The report suggests that if the pipeline were not built, the oil would still be extracted and shipped to the Gulf Coast by train.

The report bolsters the case for allowing TransCanada to build the pipeline. Secretary of State John Kerry must study the report and make a recommendation to President Barack Obama about whether the project should go forward.

In the meantime, the State Department is investigating allegations that some of the consultants of the firm that wrote the report had previously done work for TransCanada and whether there were conflicts of interest involved.

There were some 200 demonstrations planned across the country against the pipeline called for by various activist organizations.

One of the residents on the bridge, Martin Springhetti, said he was participating because he wants President Obama “to hear from us, not just the corporations,” who support the pipeline. He said of the product that would flow through the pipeline, “This is some of the dirtiest oil in the world.”