Direct Impact

Currently here in the United States, the news media and government have been bringing the attention of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Many corporations and government officials claim that this is one of the safest and cleanest pipelines in the world, delivering crude oil from Canadian tar sands to the Golf Coast of the United States (Caroom, 2014). This was some of the lobbying efforts that was done for Congress to approve this intercontinental pipeline, but the pipeline has seen its impact on the land around its’ construction (Goldtooth, 2015).

The pipeline runs through most of the Midwest down to the Golf, in turn bridging over rivers and fertile land. But what is rarely talked about is how this pipeline will affect the Native American population and what little land they have left,since the pipeline run directly through many of their lands. The problems of the leaking pipes that have been recorded seeps into the water supply of the native population, endangering them through the poison of oil and infertility of land (Goldtooth, 2015). The indigenous people were never informed about the pipelines that will run through their land, directly negating laws that establish some sovereignty through free, prior, and informed consent. Though the United States government has regularly disregarded such right of self-determination toward its Native indigenous, the Canadian government is likewise wiggling around the law to extract these tar sand on sacred First Nation lands.

Other recent battles that indigenous people are fighting include the Apache in the South West which is more relevant to here in California. The Apache are enacting their responsibility to their people and environment to stop the copper mining from Rio Tinto, a British-Australian corporation that claims that the sacred Apache site is their property to do with as they please (Democracy Now, 2015). This decision came out of a bill that was passed after Senator John McCain slipped in a provision to allow for copper mining in the Apache area in the National Defense Authorization Act. This cowardly last minute revision to the Act will destroy the indigenous land through the effects of copper mining. Many American’s do not know about these actions, and many would not even think about the violations of Native Americans and their lands. This mining effort is similar to what happened to California during the Gold Rush, which our physical environment was forever changed as well as harmful elements, such as Mercury, can still be found in our ground and water that we all live and drink from (Rapps, 2015).

The economic factors at play are very large, yet some of the numbers of jobs created is over exaggerated and in most cases do not apply regionally. Much of the focus of this issue is focused on the job and economies created and expanded, there is little focus on what tar sands do to the environment. Tar sands extraction and refinement are the most harmful to our environment, creating the most byproduct of carbon emissions in the energy business. However, other corporations are exploiting the environment and indigenous lands for their own economic advancements.

Apache Stronghold Caravan Calls to Protect Sacred Sites After Clause Slipped into NDAA Allows Mining. (2015, July 17). Retrieved October 3, 2015.

Carmoom, E. (2014, January 24). Heavy Louisiana Sweet Drops as Keystone Starts Texas Deliveries. Retrieved October 3, 2015.

FAR FROM INEVITABLE: The Risks of and Barriers to Tar Sands Expansion. (2014, December 1). Retrieved October 3, 2015.

Goldtooth, D. (2015, January 9). Keystone XL would destroy our native lands. This is why we fight. Retrieved October 3, 2015.

Rapps, E. (n.d.). A gold myth: The truth behind the California gold rush. Retrieved October 3, 2015.

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