Texas Segment of Keystone XL Pipeline Starts Flowing

More than a year after TransCanada crews started felling trees and digging trenches in East Texas, the southern segment of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline—known as the Gulf Coast Project—will start delivering oil to Texas refineries today. The full Keystone XL line, which requires the administration’s approval because it crosses an international border, has met sustained opposition since it was first proposed in 2008. But when President Obama rejected the full project and fast-tracked its Oklahoma-to-Texas segment, conservative landowners formed an unlikely alliance with environmental activists and started a battle that continues today.

In Texas, pipeline opponents didn’t stop at holding signs and marching in major cities. Elderly landowners joined young protesters and locked themselves to TransCanada’s construction equipment or stood in front of machinery in rural East Texas where the pipeline was being built. In a three-month standoff with TransCanada, members of the Tar Sands Blockade built a “tree village” directly on the path of the pipeline route and lived on platforms 80 feet in the air. They documented their actions at every step, bringing national attention to the resistance against the pipeline in East Texas.

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Climate Change and Public Health: Q&A with Adele Houghton

Adele Houghton is the founder of Biositu, LLC, a Houston-based consulting firm dedicated to, in her words: “leveraging environmental sustainability to enhance community health.” The idea is that the buildings we occupy, the streets we walk and drive on and the landscapes that surround us can mean the difference between life and death when it comes to extreme climatic events. As the effects of climate change continue to threaten vulnerable populations across the world, Houghton believes it is more important than ever for cities and states to prepare their communities with that in mind.

Government agencies, professional associations and developers hire Biositu to help them plan and build in a way that safeguards the environment, but also protects communities from the current and future effects of climate change.

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