Tar sands blockade

The real “eco-terrorists” are the oil companies.

Loud construction noises fill Daniel’s forest as we walk through it earlier this month. Daniel leads me to a pond that had been so clean when I visited during the summer that he drank from it in front of me.

“Not going to happen today,” he says. “It’s cloudy, murky, milky, nasty. Wouldn’t drink out of it. Wouldn’t let my dog drink out of it.”

We get to a clearing in his forest the size of a four-lane highway. Earth movers are digging trenches. A green pipe three feet in diameter stretches as far as we can see. Daniel points out two big stacks of enormous tree trunks — what’s left of this swath of his forest.

Daniel winces. “I don’t think anybody would like to see the destruction of their home. That’s what it is,” he says.

But Jaffe, the UC Davis energy expert, says the efforts were not as futile as they may seem. Because of high profile protests against tar sands, companies in Canada are working on technologies to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint.

“The young woman who went up in the trees should feel happy,” Jaffe says. “She might not have been able to stop the pipeline, but she certainly sent the message to Alberta producers.”

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