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Nurses to Host Colorful Golden Gate Bridge March June 20 With Call to Stop Keystone XL, Austerity

National Nurses United Press Release, 6/11/13

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Cite Adverse Effects of Increased Air Pollution, Climate Change on Public Health

SAN FRANCISCO – Registered nurses from across the U.S., joined by environmental and Bay Area community activists, will step up the call on the Obama administration to reject approval of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline with a colorful march and rally at the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday, June 20.

The event will be hosted by National Nurses United which cites serious adverse concerns about the Pipeline, a project a prominent NASA scientist warns could mean “game over” on climate change.

What:  March and rally, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
When:  Thursday, June 20, beginning at 12 noon
Where:  Rally, staging area at Battery East, near the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion, Fort Point


In addition to opposing Keystone, the rally will also call attention to the adverse effects of global and U.S. austerity measures, and call for enactment of a tax on Wall Street speculation, the Robin Hood tax, which would raise hundreds of billions of dollars every year in the U.S. alone to fight climate change and help fund other basic needs.

In joining with environmentalists, unions, First Nation leaders, and other organizations from across the country to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline, NNU has said both the transport and refining of the tar sands crude oil in the project pose a major threat to public health.

“Nurses today care for scores of patients struggling with serious health problems, from lung disease to heart attacks, to cancer, that are linked to environmental pollution. The Keystone Pipeline threatens to severely accelerate the environmental health crisis as well as undermining our efforts to slow the adverse effects of climate change,” says Karen Higgins, RN, co-president of the 185,000-member NNU.

Hundreds of NNU members from coast to coast will participate in the march and rally. Also on hand will be nurse and labor activists from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. NNU is hosting a national conference in San Francisco June 19 to 21 at which the global fight against austerity, eroding healthcare standards, the attacks on unions, and the fight against climate change will be discussed.

NNU announced its opposition to the Keystone Pipeline earlier this year and NNU members have joined actions protesting the project around the nation.

 KXL would transport 900,000 barrels a day of polluting tar sands oil along a 1,700 mile pipeline from Canada through the heartland of the U.S.

The extraction process alone is far more complex than convention oil drilling. But the transport also raises additional significant problems, as evidenced recently by a major tar sands spill in Arkansas. Two months later, residents are still complaining of health problems and concerns about poisonous impacts on wildlife and the environment, reports the Natural Resources Defense Council.  The rupture of a tar sands oil pipeline in Michigan in 2010 similarly caused widespread respiratory ailments and other health problems in communities adjacent to the spill.

 Climate change is hastening the spread of infectious disease, waterborne and food borne pathogens, says NNU. Just this week pediatricians in Pakistan cited a “rise in vector-borne diseases including diarrhea, cholera, gastroenteritis, typhoid, and hepatitis due to environmental factors and the effects of climate change.”

More information about the June 20 event is available at http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/news/entry/stop-austerity-stop-keystone-our-planet-our-health

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