17 October 2012

Protesting the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline

From an op-ed in The Guardian, authored by Daryl Hannah:
Don't buy the tale that this tar sands oil will make the US energy-independent. It's export for profit, even as spills poison our water.
[It's] a battle being waged all over the United States. It's being fought by ordinary citizens of all colors, economic strata and political persuasions – against the world's wealthiest multinational corporations, misinformation and deeply embedded fears.

The complete Keystone XL pipeline project that is proposed would come down across the border from Alberta through six states – passing right through the Ogallala aquifer – the source of irrigation water for two-thirds of our nation's farms and ranches. The southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was fast-tracked and is now under construction, would cross through the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer that supplies water for agriculture, industry and fresh drinking water to 10-12 million Texans.

Another thing we can all agree on – as even TransCanada admits, it's not a question of "if" there will be spills, but "when". We just can't afford it...

Keystone XL would carry tar sands oil – or bitumen – a highly toxic, corrosive substance filled with proprietary chemicals. Unlike crude oil, tar sands sludge has to be pumped at high pressures, and extremely high temperatures to move through pipe.

Even federal safety officials don't know precisely which chemicals are used to mix bitumen and create dilbit. There have been no independent scientific studies exploring the relationship between dilbit and pipeline corrosion.

 In mid 2010, the Endbridge Energy pipeline leaked, dumping 843,000 gallons of dilbit into the Kalamazoo river. The cost to clean it up is expected to exceed $700m. The Keystone I, Keystone XL's predecessor, leaked 12 times in its first year of operation...

Proponents of KXL have made efforts to sell the pipeline to US citizens, greatly exaggerating job opportunities, quoting numbers upward of 50,000, while a Cornell University independent study said it would bring roughly 4,000 temporary jobs. TransCanada has also spent enormous amounts of PR money putting ads on Oprah's network and the like, in an attempt to rebrand itself as "ethical oil", insinuating that the Keystone XL pipeline would ensure America receives its oil from friendly Canada, instead of unstable regions elsewhere in the world...

This oil will be sold, most likely for export, on the open market to the highest bidder, most likely India (which itself manufactured the pipeline) or China. What is evident is that the Keystone XL pipeline is a private profit venture, not a "public use" project that serves the US national interest...
The rest of the essay is at The Guardian.


  1. Another short sighted goal placing profit over safety- and this time, even the profit end is more imaginary than real. We're poisoning our planet, and in so doing ourselves. The coming worldwide ecological collapse will make our economic debacle look like the good old days. I honestly don't know how people who bring kids into the world these days sleep at night.

    Denial is a beautiful thing (until it denies you).

  2. http://thestory.org/archive/the_story_091712.mp3/view

    An excellent account about one woman's fight to stop Keystone from laying pipeline on her family's farm.

  3. There are many of us fighting Enbridge's proposal to lay a pipeline through northern British Columbia to the sea. This will take it through some of the last great wilderness's left on the planet, over major salmon spawning rivers to a rugged coastline renowned for large tidal runs, hidden reefs and severe weather even in late summer. This is not about "if " there's an accident but when and where. The impact will be devastating. Sadly Enbridge has the support of our Prime Minister who is slowly and quietly making it possible to happen citing "economic" benefits. It helps that he's from Calgary...
    An excellent doc is this.. http://www.onthelinemovie.com about two fellows who followed the proposed route, scary and enlightening.

  4. What blows my mind is that I think they could have easily gotten this pipeline through Texas if they hadn't tried to run roughshod over the land owners. I mean, if you tick off Texans regarding oil, you must have screwed up really, really badly.

  5. We can live without more oil, especially if it comes in the form of dilbit. We can't live without water and all the crops that might be blighted in the event of a spill. And it sounds like even someone as gambling-averse as I am would bet on the spills as a sure thing. This could be a disaster from which we might never recover.

  6. As a Canadian, this whole affair makes me mad as hell and shamefully embarrassed by our government. Prime Minister Harper is so deeply in the pocket of Western Canadian oil interests that he will force his lickspittle cabinet full of yes-men and -women to do and say anything the oilpatch tells him to. His government has gutted environmental regulation and removed any meaningful oversight, all in the name of appeasing the oil companies and keeping their cash flowing into Conservative Party coffers. I knew this was all going to go badly years ago, when the newly-elected Harper Conservatives insisted on changing the name of the project from the Tar Sands (as it had been known for years) to the Oil Sands - supposedly a friendlier, fuzzier choice!

  7. This is such a win for capitalism: Any spill cleanup, even tens of billions, is tax deductible (BP? I understand the 30 billion was written of to the USA, so basically the US taxpayers had to clean up the mess and pay for it themselves?).
    And what better way to squeeze more money out of everyone than to poison ground water. Bottled water for everyone!
    Now if we could only figure out a way to charge for air...

  8. Unfortunately the American people have been sold a bill of goods -- many of them believe that this oil is meant for American consumption when, in fact, it is meant to be shipped from Houston port to China or to India. Why on earth we Americans would risk the safety of our aquifers and wildlife for oil for export is beyond me. We must stop this pipeline!


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