The US State Department’s final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline has been released. The State Department “does not regard the No Action Alternative to be preferable to the proposed Project.”
On Day 7 of the White House Sit-in, an estimated 50 more Americans expect arrest today. To date, 322 citizens have been jailed to tell President Obama that he has their support if he stands up to Big Oil. Today’s protestors will hold a banner at the White House fence that reads: “OBAMA: THIS IS OUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT.” The Environmental Protection Agency has blasted the two previous State Department reports for lacking critical information about the environmental impacts of the pipeline. Concerns over the State Department’s objectivity have also surfaced due to a former Clinton staff joining TransCanada as a lead lobbyist for the pipeline.
Center for American Progress senior fellow Tom Kenworthy responds: “The State Department’s assessment that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will have only a limited environmental impact should not be the final word from the Obama administration on the plan to sharply increase imports of dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the U.S. But it is unfortunate because it builds momentum for a final permit approval by the end of this year.
At a time when the U.S. should be doing everything in its power to reduce carbon dioxide pollution and speed the transition to cleaner fuels, the Keystone XL pipeline would be a step backward. Getting oil from Canada’s tar sands is a dirty business, considerably dirtier in terms of carbon pollution than producing conventional oil. That is why hundreds of protestors have been gathering at the White House in recent days, and subjecting themselves to arrest on behalf of a cleaner planet.
President Obama has demonstrated leadership in reducing Americans’ oil use by modernizing vehicle fuel economy and tailpipe standards that will reduce oil use by 2.5 million barrels of oil daily. Americans look again to his leadership to continue along this path by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline permit. It is not in the national interest, nor is it in humanity’s interest.”
Mark Bittman wrote a fantastic blog on this lamentable development:
Mark Bittman on food and all things related.
I wasn’t surprised when the administration of George W. Bush sacrificed the environment for corporate profits. But when the same thing happens under a Democratic administration, it’s depressing. With little or no public input, policies that benefit corporations regardless of the consequences continue to be enacted.
No wonder an April 2010 poll from the Pew Research Center found that about only 20 percent of Americans have faith in the government (it’s one thing upon which the left and right and maybe even the center agree). But maybe this is nothing new: as Glenda Farrell, as Genevieve “Gen” Larkin, put it in “Gold Diggers of 1937,” “It’s so hard to be good under the capitalistic system.”
But is anyone in power even trying? Last winter, the Department of Agriculture deregulated Monsanto’s genetically mo..., despite concerns about cross-pollination of non-genetically modified crops. It then defied a court order banning the planting of genetically modified sugar beets pending completion of an environmental impact study.
Monsanto engineers these plants and makes Roundup, the herbicide they resist. But Roundup-ready crops don’t increase long-term yields, a host of farmers are now dealing with “superweeds” and there is worry about superbugs, nearly all courtesy of Monsanto. In fact, this system doesn’t contribute to much of anything except Monsanto’s bottom line. Yet Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gave Monsanto the nod, perhaps yielding to pressure from the White House.
The United States exerts that same kind of pressure abroad. WikiLeaks cables show that U.S. “biotechnology outreach programs” have promoted genetically modified crops in Africa, Asia and South America; they’ve also revealed that diplomats schemed to retaliate against any European Union countries that oppose those crops.
Sacrificing the environment for profits didn’t stop with Bush, and it doesn’t stop with genetically modified organisms. Take, for example, the Keystone XL pipeline extension. XL is right: the 36-inch-wide pipeline, which will stretch from the Alberta tar sands across the Great Plains to the Gulf Coast, will cost $7 billion and run for 1,711 miles — more than twice as long as the Alaska pipeline. It will cross nearly 2,000 rivers, the huge wetlands ecosystem called the Nebraska Sandhills and the Ogallala aquifer, the country’s biggest underground freshwater supply.
Read the rest here.
Of course, that this pipeline is for national security reasons is baloney:
The Keystone XL Pipeline: Oil for Export, Not for U.S. Energy Security
Industry Documents Reveal Scheme to Reach Lucrative Markets Abroad
In pushing for the Obama Administration’s approval of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the North American oil industry and its political patrons argue that the pipeline is necessary for American energy security and its construction will help wean America of dependence on Mideast oil. But a closer look at the new realities of the global oil market and at the companies who will profit from the pipeline reveals a completely different story: Keystone XL will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but rather transport Canadian oil to American refineries for export to overseas markets.
A new report from Oil Change International lays out the case, based on data and documents from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Canadian National Energy Board, corporate disclosures to regulators and investors, and analysis of the rapidly shifting oil market.
Read the rest here.
by Zack Beauchamp
[The environmentalists'] issue is a new project know as the Keystone oil pipeline that would transport oil from Canada’s tar sands fields to refineries in the Gulf Coast. The State Department has given the environmental go-ahead for the project, leaving it to the president to make the final decision. But environmentalists like McKibben see it as an expansion of America’s dependence on dirty fuels and are trying to pressure President Obama to nullify the permit and halt the Keystone project.
Mark Engler summarizes the Green left's uprising:
Pipelines, another way to destroy the earth as quickly as possible. Hey Alberta, having fun yet?
‘Every Plant And Tree Died’: Huge Alberta Pipeline Spill Raises Safety Questions As Keystone Decision Looms
By Kiley Kroh on Jun 18, 2013 at 10:58 am
A section of the 100-plus acres contaminated by toxic waste in northern Alberta (Credit: Nathan Vanderklippe/Dene Tha)
As the Obama administration’s decision regarding whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline draws nearer, the latest disaster is raising serious concerns about the safety of Canada’s rapidly expanding pipeline network.
A massive toxic waste spill from an oil and gas operation in northern Alberta is being called one of the largest recent environmental disasters in North America. First reported on June 1, the Texas-based Apache Corp. didn’t reveal the size of the spill until June 12, which is said to cover more than 1,000 acres.
Members of the Dene Tha First Nation tribe are outraged that it took several days before they were informed that 9.5 million liters of salt and heavy-metal-laced wastewater had leaked onto wetlands they use for hunting and trapping.
“Every plant and tree died” in the area touched by the spill, said James Ahnassay, chief of the Dene Tha.
As the Globe and Mail reports, the Apache disaster is not an anomaly:
The leak follows a pair of other major spills in the region, including 800,000 litres of an oil-water mixture from Pace Oil and Gas Ltd., and nearly 3.5 million litres of oil from a pipeline run by Plains Midstream Canada.
After those accidents, the Dene Tha had asked the Energy Resources Conservation Board, Alberta’s energy regulator, to require installation of pressure and volume monitors, as well as emergency shutoff devices, on aging oil and gas infrastructure. The Apache spill has renewed calls for change.