Too often in this country, we are blind to the environmental catastrophes happening in other parts of the world–especially slow-moving ones, like incremental deforestation, sea-level rise, or toxic leakage from fossil fuel extraction or transport.
So today, I want to highlight resistance to the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) planned to be built in Uganda and Tanzania. An impressive alliance of local and global organizations and activists have organized under the hashtag #StopEACOP to fight the pipeline that would pose a multitude of threats to the millions of people living in the surrounding area, in addition to burning more oil and putting more emissions into the atmosphere.
#StopEACOP and its allies are using a variety of methods to halt the construction of the pipeline, which is co-owned by the French oil giant TotalEnergies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Though the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments have largely approved of the pipeline (despite many environmental impact assessments suggesting irreversible damages to ecosystems and people reliant on those ecosystems), activists are applying pressure to the project’s weakest points: funding, insurance, and legal challenges.
With EACOP believed to still be billions of dollars short in funding, campaigners say there is a real opportunity to potentially stop this disastrous pipeline, and there seems to be some traction to this statement as 11 banks and 3 insurance have refused to get involved in the project.
This fight to stop EACOP is a story we should care about and be paying attention to for so many reasons, but I could not find a single mention of the pipeline in The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal. Activists in Uganda and Tanzania are risking their lives to speak out against EACOP. This is a real opportunity to keep fossil fuels in the ground and support a cleaner and more just economy in East and Central Africa. Yet it has largely been ignored by American media outlets, which is frankly crazy.
Get EACOP on your radar, and take action this week by stopping the flow of corporate money with #StopEACOP!