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Keystone XL Pipeline

Arkansas Oil Spill

Last evening the PBS Newshour aired an interview with spokesmen for the two sides to the Keystone XL Pipleline controversy. Judy Woodruff moderated the debate between Anthony Swift of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Andrew Black of the Association of Oil Pipelines.

The primary objection to the Keystone XL pipeline by most environmentalist is the impact of using the low quality crude from Canadian tar sands, which increases climate emissions well above conventional crude, and its resulting ascerbation of global warming, but the more visible and therefore more tangible argument is the probability of an ecological disaster along the pipline.

As noted by the Center for Biological Diversity:

  • Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured on March 29, 2013, dumping up to 400,000 gallons of tar-sands crude oil into a subdivision in Mayflower, Ark., forcing the evacuation of 22 homes.
  • This latest Pegasus pipeline spill was preceded by another two days earlier, when a train carrying Canadian tar-sands crude spilled 15,000 gallons in Minnesota.
  • Coincidentally, Exxon last week was hit with a $1.7 million fine from a 2011 pipeline spill that dumped 42,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River.

Jerry Karnas, field director at the Center for Biological Diversity said “These oil pipelines inevitably spill again and again, fouling our rivers, neighborhoods and wildlife habitat. Building even more pipelines like Keystone XL across the heart of the American Midwest is only courting more trouble and more terrible spills.”

The Center further noted that “The U.S. State Department has said the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas could spill up to 100 times. The pipeline would pass through rivers, streams and habitat for more than 20 endangered species, including the whooping crane and pallid sturgeon.”

Our government probably cannot prevent transportation of low quality crude by other means such as train or barge, but it needs to take steps to reduce global warming and to protect our environment.

If you want your voice heard to take action to stop the pipeline, you may sent a message to your President Obama by clicking here on this UCC site.

The Spring of Sustainability 2013 started April 2, 2013 and will have various speakers on the topic of sustainability through Jun 13, 2013. You may listen to the audio for free if the playback has not expired, or you may upgrade for full access.