Registered nurses from coast to coast are stepping up the challenge to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline with a demand that Secretary of State John Kerry provide proof that Keystone is not going to harm the health and safety of Americans previous to any remaining decision on the challenge.
In addition, Nationwide Nurses United, the nation’s largest group of RNs, is circulating an online petition to Kerry that will likely be presented to the State Division demanding the assure, and has released a brand new brief video from nurses titled, “Do not Pipeline My Patients.”
To add your voice, sign the petition right here.
NNU introduced the latest marketing campaign in a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday hosted by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Atmosphere and Public Works.
NNU referred to as on Kerry and the Obama administration, who’re posed to make a last dedication on Keystone soon, to right away fee a comprehensive evaluation on the health influence of Keystone and concern a declarative finding that it won’t hurt human health — or no pipeline. Boxer and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) lately made the same name.
Karen Higgins, NNU President (third from proper) with NNU members at press conference
Noting that the State Division should decide that KXL is in the national curiosity, NNU Co-President Karen Higgins, RN mentioned, “[A] project that places the health and safety of our patients, our families, and our communities at substantial threat can’t probably be in our nationwide curiosity.”
Boxer opened by observing, “Whenever you ask the American individuals which professionals do they belief probably the most, they put nurses at the top of the checklist.”
She cited the widespread harm now seen at “each step of the toxic tar sands oil process — from the extraction to the transport to the refining to the waste disposal… don’t simply take my word, or that of the peer reviewed science on this subject,” Boxer said, “take the word of America’s most trusted professionals — nurses.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer with National Nurses United members
Boxer emphasized the quick shrift the general public debate on Keystone has paid to the hostile health results, including simply “one tiny little paragraph” within the voluminous Remaining Environmental Influence Study released by the State Division in January. The well being effects, she mentioned later, “have been swept under the rug.”
Higgins agreed with Sen. Boxer that the talk on the health hazards has been “woefully insufficient” and she cited, as the Sierra Membership noted it its protection of the event, the epidemic proportions of asthma in the U.S. as well as elevated rates of cancer, leukemia, pores and skin and eye points, and nervous system damage as a result of tar sands production.
RNs from throughout the U.S., together with those alongside the trail of the proposed pipeline, spoke in regards to the well being harm already brought on by tar sands.
Kansas RN Kari Columbus
“Being on the trail of the pipeline, I am concerned for our health and security that a rupture might trigger. We now have seen what can occur with tar sands pollution and we really feel like that is an experience that we don’t want,” stated Kansas RN Kari Columbus. “I every day see the results 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 may very well be made worse by this incoming impending project.”
Brenda Prewitt, a pediatric RN in Houston, a city plagued by among the many worst environmental pollution in the U.S., cited a Rice College examine that reveals that “ranges of most cancers causing chemicals produced by oil refining are already in some circumstances 20 times greater in Houston than in other cities, and this is earlier than the pipeline is coming through.”
“Kids dwelling inside two miles of the Houston ship channel, which is the place the pipeline will are available, are fifty six % more prone to get leukemia than those living 10 or extra miles away,” Prewitt continued.
Houston RN Brenda Prewitt
“Tar Sands oil is dirtier than refining standard oil and ends in larger emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide, which contribute to respiratory diseases like asthma, chronic bronchitis and lung most cancers,” mentioned Prewitt. “According to the EPA short time period exposure to elevated ranges of sulfur dioxide is associated with 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 more pricey to refine, not solely costly by cash, but in the long run will value us the well being of our kids, the health of ourselves and in areas near the pipeline it would cause issues with the health of our land,” noted Prewitt.
Chicago RN Rolanda Watson works in a clinic on Chicago’s South Aspect that was evacuated in December throughout 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 famous are toxic and laced with metals reminiscent of mercury, lead, arsenic and nickel, “are usually not covered and they don’t seem to be contained, so you might be always getting these clouds blowing in all places, covering houses and picnic areas.”
“Youngsters can’t play outdoors, they can not eat their meals outdoors as a result of these particulates are going to be embedded in their food, and when inhaled they’re embedded in their lungs. These particulates can aggravate and may cause, asthma, bronchitis, and lung diseases and these diseases will significantly lower your likelihood to struggle different infections so in the long run what you will notice is extra hospitalization and well being care prices are going to go up,” Watson mentioned.
Oakland, Ca. RN Katy Roemer famous that tar sands oil is presently being transported into refineries in Richmond, Ca., exposing 25,000 folks, principally low revenue and people of color, who stay within three miles of the refinery to critical well being threat.
Oakland RN Katy Roemer at Keystone protest in February
“With a purpose to transport it, the tar sands oil should be diluted with very toxic chemicals such as benzene, toluene, chromium and lead,” mentioned Roemer. “The tar sands industry won’t reveal the exact chemical mix used, so when it spills, it is very troublesome to wash up. These chemicals pose severe dangers to human health such as respiratory toxicity, cancer and nervous system damage. In addition, these chemicals are more corrosive than regular crude oil, which makes spills more possible and toxic after they do occur.
“Currently the individuals who stay close to the Richmond refinery endure from larger charges of asthma, chronic respiration circumstances and most cancers. Importing and refining the heavier crude oils just like the tar sands oil will lead to more particulate and sulfur emissions and different pollutants within the air, further putting these residents at much more threat,” Roemer mentioned. “We are already seeing the results of local weather change in additional excessive weather patterns, drought, extreme winter storms, and hurricanes that cause unimaginable human suffering and death. We will and must do higher for the properly-being of our planet and the well being of all who dwell right here.”
After the press conference, Boxer then spoke in regards to the health hazards and the NNU marketing campaign at the formal Senate Overseas Relations Committee listening to on Keystone. It’s the nurses, she noted, who see those affected by the adversarial health effects “coming into emergency rooms.”
“These are the forgotten voices on this debate. I’m only one Senator, just one vote,” Boxer said, “but now I have 185,000 nurses behind me.”
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