On Feb. 3, you might have seen 14 people standing with signs on the intersection of Elm and Silver streets in Waterville with a mock-up of a pipeline and oil spill. Starting on Sunday, we began vigils that we will hold from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. every Sunday. Our group, 350 Central Maine, and friends are demonstrating against the Keystone XL pipeline that is planned to bring tar sands oil from Canada to Texas. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have until May 1 to decide whether the United States will allow this pipeline to cross the border from Canada. There are several reasons we believe it should be denied.

• Tar sands oil is bad for climate change. This “extreme oil” results in 20 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil. If the XL pipeline is approved, this would outbalance the recent gains that New England has made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

• Extracting tar sands violates the treaty with the local First Nation tribe. It is spewing toxins in the people’s hunting grounds and is poisoning them.

• This pipeline likely would have costly, toxic spills in the United States. A tar sands pipeline built recently by the same company in Canada had 12 spills in its first year. The estimated final cost of cleanup of a tar sands pipeline spill in Michigan in 2010 is more than a billion dollars.

• Tar sands oil is expensive because extracting and processing it is unusually costly. It will not help our price of gas.

We can still do something about all this. We urge others to join us on a Sunday or email the president and secretary of state. The power of the voters can overcome the power of corporate money, but only if a lot of us take action. Do it for your kids.

Richard ThomasWaterville

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