We posted back in June that pipeline blockades, limiting overall pipeline capacity, have a real effect in driving up costs and causing potential tar sands projects to be suspended or canceled. We got more evidence this past week that blockading pipelines works: Statoil Just Shelved Its Multi-Billion-Dollar Tar Sands Project. While the article focuses on the Keystone XL pipeline, which has seen a lot of symbolic protest, even more important may be the direct action blockades such as the Unis’tot’en Camp, physically disallowing construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline.
The article correctly states that, though this is a big victory for environmentalists, it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the entirety of fossil fuel emissions we need to halt. Aboveground activists should certainly keep applying strategic pressure to shut down projects where possible, but we still need to encourage and support the formation of an underground which can be much more effective with asymmetric tactics, as described in the Deep Green Resistance Decisive Ecological Warfare strategy.
DGR member Will Falk has been writing a regular series on his experiences at the Unis’tot’en Camp blockade of proposed pipeline construction. We’ve highlighted some of them here already, but thought it would be useful to link to the whole series of thoughtful essays on what it takes to build a true culture of resistance, and for members of settler culture to ally with indigenous peoples on the front lines:
The article “Total shelves $11-billion Alberta oil sands mine” contains a clear acknowledgement that blockades like that of the Unis’tot’en Camp preventing construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline, and actions against the Keystone XL matter, by limiting pipeline capacity and driving down the value of tar sands product:
Rising costs for labour and materials have long worked against the economics of new projects, and limited pipeline access to ship oil has weighed on prices for Alberta oil. Total is signed up to ship oil on three major undeveloped pipeline projects facing uncertainty: Keystone XL, Northern Gateway and the Trans Mountain expansion.
Keep up the good work, everyone involved in those struggles, and for those not already involved, check them out and see how you can support them.
The indigenous Wet’suwet’en are holding the fifth annual Unis’tot’en Action Camp to blockade the construction of the Canadian Northern Gateway pipelines, a cluster of pipelines meant to carry tar sands crude and natural gas from fracking operations. This blockade is a strategic way to fight against these extremely dangerous and destructive projects. The Unis’tot’en territory has never been ceded to Canada, so the Wet’suwet’en have both a legal standing and a deep commitment to defending their landbase. This is a battle that can be won by defenders of the land and climate change activists.
To learn more about the background of the blockade and about the Camp, visit the Unis’tot’en Camp website and watch the 2012 Deep Green Resistance West Coast Tour video below: