Tar Sands Lecture Informs Eco-Friendly Pointers
Erika Kolacki

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The Students for a Democratic Society sponsored a lecture about the Tar Sands Project on Feb. 1 in the DUC Alumni Room.

The lecture’s speaker was Kyle Schulz, a Milwaukee native and activist against the Tar Sands Project. He participated in a tree-sit in East Texas in order to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“It was not as fun as one might think,” Schulz said.

Conditions for the tree-sit were not ideal. The Texas heat and the use of buckets as toilets were some of the challenges the activists faced. The main form of communication was a series of walkways they made to connect people stationed at various trees to each other.

The Tar Sands Project concerns the extraction and refinement of thick, tar-like oil from the soil that coincides with the Keystone XL pipeline. At its completion, the pipeline will stretch from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast in Texas.

Kate Carson, a member of SDS, said the Tar Sands Project marks a drastic change in our environment.

“This seals the deal on climate change. It will keep us reliant on fossil fuels. This is huge. We’re talking about an alteration of our atmosphere,” Carson said.

The use of the tar sands oil not only poses negative effects for the environment, but may also drive up America’s gas prices. The intended exportation of the oil will not save Americans money at the gas pumps.

“One of the myths about Tar Sands is ‘It’s gonna make oil cheaper.’ None of the oil in the Tar Sands will be used in the U.S,” Schulz said.

The project also requires the removal of families from their land, Carson said.

“They aren’t just environmental issues,” Carson said. “We aren’t looking at these big issues and looking at root causes. Capitalism is driven by profits. Profits are being placed above life itself. Our representatives are not representing everyday people. I feel that it’s time that people start looking for other ways to be effective.”

The end of the lecture left several members of the audience full of questions and opinions. Many people stayed in the Alumni Room afterward in order to share their questions and opinions.

It was just the right reaction, Schulz said.

“I wanted them to leave with more knowledge and inspiration,” he said.

Currently, plans for the pipeline’s completion have been stalled due to legislation. President Obama will ultimately make the final decision to begin construction on the Northern leg, the section of the pipeline that connects Oklahoma to Canada.

Though many activist efforts have taken place since the pipeline’s initial construction in August, Schultz admits a potential outcome.

“I think the Northern leg will be approved,” Schultz said.