EPA, and now Interior Dep't., contradict State Dep't., slam Keystone XL Pipeline on potential environmental harm

tar sands dirtiest oil on earth

An "independent study" on Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline was closely linked to fossil fuel companies. Quel surprise! If that's what it takes to garner support, then this filthy undertaking should be scrapped ASAP.

Need more convincing? Just check out: VIDEO: Keystone XL tar sands “isn’t oil. This is a pipe-eating, planet-cooking, water-fouling goo. You can’t clean up tar.”

Allow me to remind you that the tar sands pipeline (scroll) is the “biggest carbon bomb on the planet.” Think Progress and Van Jones both remind us that the project will create only 35 permanent jobs, but will emit 51 coal plants’ worth of carbon. Plus, much of the oil would be exported elsewhere. We’d be way better off investing in clean energy instead of a costly, dirty catastrophe-in-waiting like the tar sands mess.

In a recent Gallup poll, nearly half in the U.S. say government should do more to protect environment, and 20 scientists pulled out of the project. Plus, the Arkansas pipeline rupture foreshadows devastating environmental impact. Nevertheless, it looks like the State Dep’t. is leaning toward approving Keystone, even though it would bring the dirtiest oil on earth through America.

Bill McKibben and NASA’s Jim Hansen both warn that it would be “essentially game over for the climate” if this crackpot project gets the go-ahead.

But now, a glimmer of good news: Two of three government agencies have come out swinging against the impact of this disaster-in-waiting on the environment. The Interior Department sent a 12-page letter warning that the tar sands project could have "long-term, damaging effects on wildlife."

Via The Los Angeles Times:

The letter from the Interior Department grimly catalogs many ways Keystone XL could harm wildlife: "species displacement, increased predation rates and predator travel lanes, increased nest parasitism, vehicle collisions with wildlife … invasive plant species, increased wildfire risk, lower wildlife density, increase in collisions with power lines and electrocutions on power poles … and increase in poaching."

The Interior Department is the second major federal agency to criticize the State Department's draft environmental impact statement, a detailed look at the potential effects of the proposed pipeline on air, water, endangered species, communities and the economy. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency slammed the assessment, saying it failed to account for what could be considerable greenhouse gas emissions from the project and risks to aquifers along its route.

Along with warnings about potential oil spill disasters, Interior stated its concerns about every day effects on wildlife, including nesting and threats to the lives of birds and fish from various intrusions by the new infrastructure.

The Interior Department also raised concern about how the pipeline might damage wetlands and archaeological sites. And it warned that Keystone XL could create light and noise pollution that could affect people and wildlife alike.

The pipeline is a terrible idea that could have catastrophic long term consequences. Let's hope it gets a big fat thumbs down and we can move on to concentrating on and developing clean, renewable energy sources.

  • Mark

    That oil is coming out of the ground, period. We'd all like to see a world where this doesn't happen, but our oceans and precious land are going to be drilled, for better or for worse.

    There are benefits and drawbacks. Environmentally, there can be no argument that doesn't concede this is fraught with some negative "knowns" and a host of potential "unknowns." From a positive perspective, a burgeoning oil and gas boom in the U.S. is creating thousands of jobs (and not just for grunt workers on pipelines). Towns are forming and expanding which demand a host of people to fill hundreds of various occupations. I know this because several of my colleagues in the teaching profession gave up on Illinois and went West to the Dakotas to get a new teaching job.

    I appreciate and respect the science community sounding the alarm for this. We need that. Can we concede that the Science community isn't always right? I think so. What I would like to see a bit more often, however, is some realism. How can we make all this fracking and drilling as safe as possible. How can we minimize the burning of all of this fossil fuel as much as possible. How can we adapt and continue to thrive on a warmer planet.

    And let's not forget that while using fossil fuels is doing some level of damage to the planet that is not exactly clear cut yet, the fact that we still mine and ship billions of tons of coal out as exports should be a sobering reminder that fossil fuels are here to stay as long as poor people continue to dwell on this planet. Poor people want heat and fire to cook their food. They don't care about environmentalism. Doesn't mean we should do nothing, but let's call the hypocrisy for what it is.