The State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline is a farce. Since the beginning of the assessment, the oil industry has had a direct pipeline into the agency. Perhaps most frustrating, is the apparent collusion between the State Department, oil industry and the Canadian government. In what could be perceived as eagerness to please the oil industry and Canadian government, the State Department is issuing this report amidst an ongoing investigation into conflicts of interest, and lying, by its contractor. It is unacceptable that the oil industry and a foreign government are better informed than the American Congress and its citizenry. By letting the oil industry influence this process, Secretary Kerry is undermining his long-established reputation as a leader in the fight against climate change. President Obama can end this charade; sufficient scientific data exists to justify denying the Keystone XL pipeline. It is a simple matter of having the political will, and courage, to stand up to the oil industry. This decision is a defining moment in his environmental legacy.”
Kalamazoo River pipeline spill. The event looks very different now than it did in 2010, when authorities openly worried that the Michigan mess would ooze tar sands oil into the Great Lakes. While there is still work underway to sop up the spill, it already stands as the longest and costliest pipeline cleanup in American history. And the ongoing investigations have given us a clearer and more frustrating view of the disaster, making it clear to anyone looking that our growing affinity for Canada’s bottom-of-the-barrel unconventional tar sands oil is unsafe on a variety of levels.
In Michigan, the EPA has spent the last two years “writing the book” on what a tar sands cleanup looks like in an American river. While the disaster was unfolding, the CEO of Enbridge was on-hand, but did not bother to tell authorities that they should consider some alternative cleanup techniques to deal with the heavier-than-water bitumen slurping out of his busted pipe. As a result, the cleanup was largely focused on skimming oil off the surface initially. Later, officials realized that a wide swath of the river bottom was mucked with tar sands oil globules, as were sensitive wetlands along the waterway. The cleanup has focused on those areas since and recent press reports imply that even though most of the oil is gone, some of those submerged globules are continuing to spread.
And that lack of transparency is an important point at this moment in time. There are bevies of new tar sands pipeline projects being pushed through at the moment. Sure, there’s the overly-politicized ugliness around Keystone XL. But there is also the pipeline reversal scheme in central Canada and New England that had gone by the name Trailbreaker at one time, but is now broken into smaller pieces so as to more easily sneak the plan to export tar sands oil from the east coast through. In Canada, there is the much-hyped and much-delayed Northern Gateway project which would move tar sands through the Rockies to an unwelcoming British Columbia coast. Here in Illinois, there is a pipeline that would move the oil from Flanagan south to the Gulf Coast, an effort to move tar sands oil out of the Midwest and increase the price refineries in this region pay for the commodity (but guess who likely eventually pays that cost at the pump…).
TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would be the third new dedicated tar sands pipeline, and would lock the United States into a dependence on hard-to-extract oil and generate a massive expansion of the destructive tar sands oil operations in Canada in coming decades.
Tar sands developments are already wreaking havoc on both people and wildlife in the region. For aboriginal peoples, the mining reduces local water supplies and increases exposure to toxic substances. Expanding tar sands operations also heightens the risk for NRDC’s Peace-Athabasca Delta BioGem — just downstream from these developments.
In addition to the extraction impacts, the proposed pipeline would stretch 2000 miles from Alberta, Canada to Texas, threatening to contaminate freshwater supplies in America’s agricultural heartland and increase refinery emissions in already-polluted communities of the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Everyone supports alternative energy and clean fuels. Since Reagan rolled back Clean energy investments and development Europe has become a major proponent of Clean energy. Than theres fracking…Monsanto and Argri txification of food. The planet Earth is screaming HELLLLLP!!!!!!