Dozens of members of the Delaware Sierra Club and other environmental groups rallied outside of Senator Tom Carper’s Wilmington office on Monday urging Carper to vote against a bill that would approve building the Keystone XL pipeline.
The 1,179-mile Keystone XL Pipeline would be the fourth expansion of the Keystone pipeline system, connecting both American and Canadian crude oil reserves to the original Keystone Pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska.
Also included is the smaller Houston Lateral Project which is a 47-mile expansion connecting Houston to the pipeline.
The expansion would have the capability of moving 830,000 barrels of oil per day. TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, claims that it can reduce American oil dependence from Venezuela and the Middle East by up to 40%.
Delaware Sierra Club Conservation Co-Chair Amy Roe says that the proposed pipeline route poses environmental threats to miles of land and waterways.
“It would go through many many communities and it would terminate in Texas in a region that has been disproportionately impacted by refinery pollution,” said Roe. “There is nothing about the pipeline that invigorates life or supports anything but profits for a Canadian oil company.”
President of the non-profit organization Hip Hop Caucus Rev. Lennox Yearwood also spoke at the rally, saying that effects of the pipeline will be felt nationwide due to the processing and burning of the extra fossil fuels.
Yearwood noted that the effects could be especially strong in Delaware where oil is already processed.
“When I came here a while ago to preach, one of the things that I noticed in the bulletin was that here in one of the churches they had a cancer ministry,” said Yearwood. “So many people in that church dying too early because of the toxins and the pollutions.”
A vote on a bill to fast-track the pipeline without presidential approval is expected in the Senate as early as this week.
Senator Chris Coons has already voiced his opposition of a bill.