Registered nurses from coast to coast are stepping up the problem to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline with a demand that Secretary of State John Kerry provide proof that Keystone won’t harm the well being and safety of Individuals prior to any remaining resolution on the challenge.
As well as, Nationwide Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of RNs, is circulating a web-based petition to Kerry that might be introduced to the State Department demanding the assure, and has released a brand new short video from nurses titled, “Don’t Pipeline My Patients.”
To add your voice, signal the petition here.
NNU announced the most recent campaign in a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday hosted by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Setting and Public Works.
NNU called on Kerry and the Obama administration, who’re posed to make a remaining dedication on Keystone soon, to right away fee a complete analysis on the health influence of Keystone and subject a declarative discovering that it won’t harm human well being — or no pipeline. Boxer and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) just lately made an identical name.
Karen Higgins, NNU President (third from right) with NNU members at press convention
Noting that the State Department should determine that KXL is within the nationwide interest, NNU Co-President Karen Higgins, RN stated, “[A] mission that locations the well being and safety of our patients, our households, and our communities at substantial threat can’t presumably be in our nationwide interest.”
Boxer opened by observing, “While you ask the American people which professionals do they belief probably the most, they put nurses at the highest of the checklist.”
She cited the widespread hurt now seen at “each step of the toxic tar sands oil course of — from the extraction to the transport to the refining to the waste disposal… do not simply take my phrase, or that of the peer reviewed science on this difficulty,” Boxer mentioned, “take the word of America’s most trusted professionals — nurses.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer with National Nurses United members
Boxer emphasised the short shrift the public debate on Keystone has paid to the antagonistic well being results, together with simply “one tiny little paragraph” within the voluminous Closing Environmental Affect Research released by the State Department in January. The well being effects, she stated later, “have been swept beneath the rug.”
Higgins agreed with Sen. Boxer that the debate on the well being hazards has been “woefully inadequate” and she cited, because the Sierra Membership noted it its protection of the event, the epidemic proportions of asthma within the U.S. as well as elevated rates of most cancers, leukemia, skin and eye issues, and nervous system injury because of tar sands manufacturing.
RNs from across the U.S., together with those along the trail of the proposed pipeline, spoke in regards to the well being hurt already caused by tar sands.
Kansas RN Kari Columbus
“Being on the path of the pipeline, I’m concerned for our health and security that a rupture might cause. We have seen what can happen with tar sands pollution and we really feel like that’s an experience that we do not want,” mentioned Kansas RN Kari Columbus. “I day by day see the effects of pollution on the health of patients that I take care of day by day. I myself have asthma, one of my daughters has asthma, and i see many patients that deal with respiratory illnesses that could possibly be made worse by this incoming impending challenge.”
Brenda Prewitt, a pediatric RN in Houston, a metropolis plagued by among the many worst environmental pollution within the U.S., cited a Rice College research that exhibits that “ranges of cancer inflicting chemicals produced by oil refining are already in some instances 20 occasions increased in Houston than in different cities, and this is before the pipeline is coming via.”
“Youngsters residing within two miles of the Houston ship channel, which is where the pipeline will come in, are 56 p.c more prone to get leukemia than those residing 10 or more miles away,” Prewitt continued.
Houston RN Brenda Prewitt
“Tar Sands oil is dirtier than refining conventional oil and leads to greater emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide, which contribute to respiratory diseases like asthma, chronic bronchitis and lung most cancers,” mentioned Prewitt. “In keeping with the EPA short term exposure to elevated levels of sulfur dioxide is related to reduced functioning of lungs, chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, respiratory illness and aggravation of your cardiovascular system which implies your heart.”
“Tar Sands is extra pricey to refine, not only pricey by cash, however ultimately will price us the health of our children, the well being of ourselves and in areas close to the pipeline it’s going to cause problems with the health of our land,” noted Prewitt.
Chicago RN Rolanda Watson works in a clinic on Chicago’s South Side that was evacuated in December during a toxic dust cloud blowing off a petroleum coke (petcoke) pile of waste leftover after tar sands is refined.
Chicago RN Rolanda Watson
“These plumes of petcoke,” which Watson noted are toxic and laced with metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and nickel, “usually are not coated and they don’t seem to be contained, so you’re continuously getting these clouds blowing all over the place, masking houses and picnic areas.”
“Youngsters cannot play outdoors, they cannot eat their food exterior because these particulates are going to be embedded of their food, and when inhaled they are embedded in their lungs. These particulates can aggravate and can cause, asthma, bronchitis, and lung diseases and these diseases will significantly lower your probability to combat different infections so in the long term what you will note is more hospitalization and well being care prices are going to go up,” Watson said.
Oakland, Ca. RN Katy Roemer noted that tar sands oil is presently being transported into refineries in Richmond, Ca., exposing 25,000 people, mostly low income and folks of shade, who live inside three miles of the refinery to serious well being threat.
Oakland RN Katy Roemer at Keystone protest in February
“To be able to transport it, the tar sands oil should be diluted with very toxic chemicals reminiscent of benzene, toluene, chromium and lead,” said Roemer. “The tar sands industry won’t reveal the exact chemical mix used, so when it spills, it is vitally difficult to scrub up. These chemicals pose serious risks to human well being comparable to respiratory toxicity, cancer and nervous system damage. As well as, these chemicals are more corrosive than common crude oil, which makes spills extra seemingly and toxic once they do occur.
“Presently the people who reside close to the Richmond refinery suffer from higher charges of asthma, chronic respiration situations and cancer. Importing and refining the heavier crude oils just like the tar sands oil will lead to extra particulate and sulfur emissions and other pollutants in the air, additional inserting these residents at much more danger,” Roemer said. “We are already seeing the results of local weather change in additional extreme weather patterns, drought, extreme winter storms, and hurricanes that trigger unbelievable human suffering and loss of life. We can and must do better for the properly-being of our planet and the well being of all who dwell here.”
After the press conference, Boxer then spoke about the health hazards and the NNU campaign on the formal Senate Overseas Relations Committee listening to on Keystone. It’s the nurses, she famous, who see those affected by the antagonistic health effects “coming into emergency rooms.”
“These are the forgotten voices on this debate. I am just one Senator, only one vote,” Boxer stated, “but now I’ve 185,000 nurses behind me.”