Let Justice Roll Down, Not Crude Oil

by Aaron Foltz

Take away from me the noise of your songs;
       to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
         and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Amos 5:23-24
Snaking across 1,661 miles, the proposed Keystone Expansion Project, or Keystone XL, seems to have trapped American policymakers in fairy tales of energy security and independence.
In December, the Obama administration will decide whether or not this monstrous length of dangerously thin steel pipe and crude oil will slash across America's heartland, potentially causing catastrophic environmental damage across an extensive geographical region. This landmark decision is a chance for Christians in America to show support for justice and moral security, over the mythological energy security that Keystone XL claims to provide.
TransCanada and ConocoPhillips have been noisy in promoting this pipeline as the solution to foreign oil dependence, intending to shuttle corrosive crude oil and diluted bitumen from tar sands in Alberta to Gulf region refineries. They claim that  taking resources from North America and shuttling them to the Gulf region will help us break our addiction to foreign oil. Those projections are outright misrepresentations.
Several economists have actually hailed this project as a barrier to energy independence, even labeling the pipeline a "'Trojan horse'" for OPEC". This sewer of sludge would not only undermine the United States commitment to clean energy development, but also put the lives of millions of Americans at risk.
The Keystone XL pipeline is less than a half-inch thick and runs underground over some of the largest aquifers in America. With over 591,000 barrels of chemicals a day flowing through these thin pipes near the water supplies of many Americans, the conceivable threat to healthy drinking water makes millions in the affected area squeamish.
TransCanada sings the praises of their "safe" technology, like deep-sea well owners praised their safety before the BP Gulf spill. Is Obama willing to backslide on his commitments to clean energy by choosing such a dangerous business? Are we as a nation really going to promote private companies over public health?
The threat to drinking water is only one of numerous negative aspects to this pipelines. In addition to the barrier to clean energy development, numerous environmental groups are speaking up for the endangered species that would be negatively affected by such large scale construction. The pipeline cuts across Native Americans' tribal territories, hailed by the most disenfranchised group in this country as yet another tool of American imperialism across their nations' land. The refining communities will have to deal with even more toxic chemicals poured into their air to choke their children. This is only a few of the many injustices this project will propagate in the name of profit.
A cheaper drive to the mall is not worth stealing land and poisoning the water and air of millions of Americans. What would Amos say if he saw a nation willing to forsake their physical health for material wealth? He'd say to stop the music and to let justice flow. He'd speak out against the wealthy oil companies willing to poison our waters. He'd cry out against Keystone XL and it's false profits. As Christians, we have the duty to cry out for justice, and in the coming weeks we now have the opportunity and calling to stop the siren songs of energy independence and instead focus on letting justice flow in place of crude oil.
Sign a petition here asking Obama to block the Keystone XL.
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