Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Nardone: Keystone XL pipeline: A bad idea

Nardone: Keystone pipeline: A bad idea
By Julie Nardone/Local columnist
MetroWest Daily News
Posted Jan 29, 2012

President Obama may not have killed the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline project for all the following reasons, but he should have.

America’s #1 export in 2011 was refined fuel.

Shocked? Don’t be. Despite the staggering price of gas at the pump, the US ships gas, diesel and jet fuel off to developing countries like China.

The reason? US consumption of oil has declined since 2006 and North Dakota has a glut of shale oil. Underutilized Midwest refineries refine the shale and export to China. And Big Oil wants to export even more.

That’s where the Keystone Pipeline XL enters the room. Few Americans understand that Keystone is an export pipeline. It will link Alberta Canada’s tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries where it will be exported to the highest bidder, most likely China and India.

The TransCanada Corp. folks want you to believe Keystone will benefit you. It will do nothing of the tar sands sort.

It will not reduce American dependence on Middle Eastern oil. It will not reduce the price of gas. It will not produce thousands of permanent jobs. But, it will pollute a swath of the United States from the Canadian border down to the Texas shore.

Not true you say, pointing to the State Department report released in August 2011 declaring minimal environmental impact. Sorry to burst your governmental bubble but the firm who conducted the report claims TransCanada as their client. In fact, TransCanada recommended them to the State Department. No doubt, aided by TransCanada’s chief lobbyist, Paul Elliott, the Deputy Director for Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign.

Way too incestuous for me. Besides, past tends to be prologue when it comes to pipelines. If you were not aware, Phases 1 and 2 of the Keystone Pipeline project have been completed. In the first year of operation, 30 spills occurred. One of them leached 21,000 gallons of oil into the North Dakota ground. Conventional pipe design may not be adequate to carry corrosive raw tar sands.

“That’s the price we pay for oil,” You may say. “I don’t care about the spills.”

Actually, you should. TransCanada has routed the pipeline across the Ogallala Aquifer, a giant underground reservoir running close to the surface from South Dakota to Texas. The aquifer provides 82% of the drinking water for the middle third of the country and irrigates 20% of America’s farmland.

Pollute the drinking water for the Midwest and we’ve got an environmental and agricultural catastrophe on our hands.

Republican lawmakers in Nebraska know it. That’s why they requested the Keystone be rerouted around the aquifer. Don’t believe this is a Democrat versus Republican issue. Folks across the political spectrum in the affected states have banded together to stop the pipeline. You just haven’t heard about it from Fox News.

Unfortunately, TransCanada doesn’t like to be challenged. Just ask the landowners being sued by them under eminent domain laws for refusing to give easement rights to their land – all without federal approval to proceed.

Where’s the support for the US Constitution here?

Since when does a foreign corporation have the right to take the land of an American against his or her will? I thought “take-from-the-poor-give-to-the-rich-foreign-corporations” only happened to the disenfranchised in Third World Countries? Yes, the right of public good usually supersedes private land use. But where’s the proof of “public good” when discussing an export pipeline snaking over a vital public water supply and other one-of-kind- environments with no concrete proof millions of promised jobs will be created?

It doesn’t exist.

If anything, there’s proof of “private good.” The crude flowing through the American heartland won’t be taxed at export. The refineries in Port Arthur, Texas, waiting with baited breath to receive Alberta Tar Sands crude operate in tax-free havens, due to a corporate welfare tax loophole called “Enterprise Zone.” In addition, the Midwest will see their oil prices climb once the glut of Canadian crude gets rerouted into the new pipeline.

Good for big oil. Not so good for the little Americans.

Julie Nardone is a freelance writer from Ashland.


Oilsandstruth.org is not associated with any other web site or organization. Please contact us regarding the use of any materials on this site.

Tar Sands Photo Albums by Project

Discussion Points on a Moratorium

User login


Syndicate content