A 1700-mile Keystone XLpipeline is due here in Texas in 2012.
It will transport oil from Alberta's tar sands southward through the US from Montana down to Port Arthur, TX where it can be refined and shipped. Mining northern Alberta for bitumin means clear-cutting and strip mining, which is contributing to the destruction of the boreal forest there, turning beautiful wilderness into ugly giant open pit mines. It is disrupting the lives of the indigenous people there. As water-waste is drained into the Athabasca/McKenzie River, the connected waterways are drying up or picking up toxic materials. This has caused increased illness--including bile and colon cancer among the First Nations people. (See Tar Sands - Aborigional Rights for more on this.) Additionally, many wildlife are threatened: caribou, lynx, wolves, birds and more.
The pipeline will travel more than 1,000 miles through farmland and fragile ecosystems. It will cross the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers in Montana. As it heads toward Nebraska, it will cross a sensitive area of the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies many states with drinking water.
The tar sands crude that will be piped to Texas is not like regular oil.
It is highly corrosive and acidic. It is an unstable blend of thick raw bitumen. It is a volatile natural gas liqud condensate.
TransCanada plans to use thin pipe and pump oil at pressures that exceed the normal allowable limits. The company is seeking a special permit to operate at this pressure from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
There is no 'Plan B' if something goes wrong. Any accidents would require first local responders to address them.
And similar pipeline accidents have occurred.
In July 2010, a pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Michigan, spilling 819,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River.
(Photo showing ruptured pipeline)
Then this month, there was a Keystone Pipeline spill of 20,000 gallons in North Dakota.
Upon entering Texas, the pipeline will cut through eastern Texas, crossing 32 bodies of water--including Lake Fork Reservoir.
If you want to stop this pipeline, you can click here to urge Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to deny the permit of for the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. The public period for posting comments run through June 2011. You can also write to your representative and ask them to oppose this pipeline and promote renewables. And get involved in state permits for both the pipeline and refineries of TCEQ and the Railroad Commission.