Black Snakes on the Move: U.S. Pipeline Expansion Out Of Control

Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin no 1367, by Teressa Rose Ezell, Feb 9, 2017.

A Lakota prophecy tells of a mythic Black Snake that will move underground and bring destruction to the Earth. The “seventh sign” in Hopi prophecy involves the ocean turning black and bringing death to many sea-dwelling creatures. It doesn’t take an over-active imagination to make a connection between these images and oil pipelines and spills.

It’s troubling enough that the growing “Black Snake” has branched out at an alarming rate, forming a massive subterranean coast-to-coast web. But to make matters worse, the nefarious reptile seems to suffer from leaky gut syndrome, so that it functions as a toxic underground sprinkler system, spreading gas, oil, and poisonous by-products everywhere it goes – including into waterways and drinking water sources.

Protest actions against major pipelines such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) have called attention to the potentially devastating effects of pipelines, but much of the general public still doesn’t understand the scope of the existing and proposed pipeline network in the U.S. and around the globe. Executive actions by Donald Trump just four days into his presidency practically guarantee expedited approval for DAPL, as well as for Keystone XL. This indicates, among other things, that the maze of oil and gas pipelines in the U.S. will continue to expand at an unprecedented and reckless pace.

2.5 Million Miles: … //

… Pipeline Crossroads of the World: … //

… Filthy Rich:

In the long run, the only people who benefit financially from the “Black Snake” are the already wealthy oil corporations. The oil industry gives new meaning to the term “filthy rich,” while individuals living near petrochemical plants contend with chronic respiratory illnesses and high rates of cancer. With so many clean, green energy sources ready to be put into place, there is no reason to allow the Lakota legend of the planet-destroying Black Snake to become a permanent and fatal reality.

The turnaround will not happen easily. In fact, it will be quite a struggle. Greed is strong, and the oil corporations wield unreasonable power – and now they have even more friends in high places, including the one who may as well be referred to as the CEO of the USA. But the previous halting of the Keystone XL, and the tenuous and seemingly temporary victory at Standing Rock have proven that it is indeed possible to make a difference with determination and solidarity.

The frightening number of proposed pipelines and the fact that those pipelines will likely receive swift approval make it clear that the battle for Mother Earth is indeed a war. This war cannot be won by an unknown, faceless “them,” because there is no “them.” There is only us, and each and every one of us is needed – now.

Teressa Rose Ezell is a St. Louis writer and activist. She and her family live in the Tower Grove South neighborhood, where she was her district’s Green Party candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives. This article first appeared in Green Social Thought website.

(full text, related reading).


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