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Article published August 19, 2013
Michael Bagdes-Canning Cherry Valley
A recent article in the Eagle detailed the participation of two Butler County residents in the 2013 Walk For Our Grandchildren; one was me. I’d like to add a coda to the story. I spent six hours in the D.C. jail and had an arraignment Aug. 15. Why did I end up in jail? I was one of 54 people who occupied the lobby of 1776 I Street, home of Energy Resources Management. ERM was contracted by the State Department to write the environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL Pipeline. In that report, ERM claimed there would be “no significant impacts” if President Barack Obama approves the pipeline. This jaw-dropping conclusion flies in the face of warnings by scientists of international repute, including Dr. James Hansen formerly of NASA and a widely recognized expert on climate, who stated if the tar sands were tapped, “It’s game over for the climate.” ERM was not the impartial referee it claimed to be. It claimed to have no conflict of interest and, yet, several key members of the ERM team have recently worked for Trans Canada, the company building the pipeline. ERM also has recent ties with 20 other companies that would benefit from its construction. This alone is in direct contradiction to its no conflict of interest claims. But why would I risk arrest because some company lied on a form? Because the Keystone XL pipeline should not be built — period. Any form of extreme energy (and that includes toxic fracking, mountaintop removal, deep sea oil and tar sands) that jeopardizes the climate should not be taken out of the ground. Ever. Australian Environmental Minister Moses Henry Cass is reputed to have said, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” When I borrow something from someone, I want to pass it on in at least as good a shape as when I got it. My children and grandchildren deserve it.