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Nurses Applaud President’s Decision to Reject Keystone XL
National Nurses United congratulated President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, a project nurses have long opposed for its imminent threat to public health and its contribution to accelerating the climate crisis.
“This is an important decision that will protect thousands of Americans who would face significant health hazards from the transport and refining of the dangerous tar sands oil that Keystone was proposed to carry, and it adds momentum to the fight against the harmful effects of climate change,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.
“We applaud the decision by President Obama, but it’s important to recognize this victory would have never occurred without years of public protest by tens of thousands of environmental justice and climate activists, nurses, First Nation members, ranchers, and social activists across the U.S. and Canada who have raised public awareness about the threat posed by the pipeline,” DeMoro said.
‘Action matters. The same advocacy can elect Bernie Sanders’
“Action matters. Public advocacy, social advocacy, participatory democracy matters,” DeMoro added. “It’s the only way to confront the economic influence of wealthy corporate interests such as the fossil fuel industry. We need to continue the momentum for environmental protections for public health and safety, and to join with nurses, health and climate activists around the world in continuing to work to mitigate the climate crisis.”
“It’s that same power, activism and advocacy that can and will elect Bernie Sanders as President,” said DeMoro. “His outspoken public advocacy on the issue helped raise the public debate on Keystone in the Presidential campaign, and encouraged others to also oppose the project. Just as his alignment with activists on issues such as opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the fight for a $15 minimum wage also represents the broad social movement and the power to change America.”
In the past three years, NNU members have participated in numerous protests and other actions across the country, including a press conference with Sen. Barbara Boxer on Capitol Hill about the health hazards associated with KXL and a KXL protest walk across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, sponsored by NNU, in June 2013. Videos quoting nurses opposing Keystone were viewed by thousands.
NNU first announced its opposition to Keystone in February, 2013 citing a significant impact on the health of communities in the tar sands production areas along its route and communities where the heavy sour crude will be processed, in addition to its contributions to climate change.
Tar sands, the dirty oil at the center of the Keystone project, mining pollutants have been linked to cancer, leukemia, genetic damage, and birth defects. Tar sands pipeline spills in Michigan and Arkansas have beset local residents with cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, and respiratory impacts, as well as persistent coughs, headaches, nausea, eye and skin problems. Tar sands refining has been linked to serious ailments of the nervous and respiratory systems.