All Tar Sand Pipelines Are a Bad Idea

Today the National Academy of Sciences has been conducting briefings on whether corrosive tar sands oil can be safely transported through pipelines. Recent history affirms that tar sands pipelines are a bad idea, as documented in the July 10, 2012 report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on the 2010 Kalamazoo tar sands spill. That spill, from the tar sands Enbridge pipeline, released a million gallons of dirty tar sands oil in to the Kalamazoo River watershed.

Two years later, the river remains highly polluted and we still lack the level of transparency needed in terms of pipeline reporting. The NTSB report raises serious concerns about whether tar sands oil can ever be safely transported via pipeline. The report findings make development of the Keystone XL, the Trailblazer, the Northern Gateway, the Enbridge Midwest Expansion — any tar sand pipeline — all the more dangerous and absurd.

Robert Sumwalt, an NTSB board member, stated, “It’s evident that this accident did not just occur because of corrosion in a pipeline. What this investigation has shown is that this accident was the result of corrosion throughout many vital safety aspects of the Enbridge organization.”

  The State Department is now preparing to open its review of the Keystone XL pipeline and    the public comment period runs until July 30. The State Department and the White House should be urged to reject the K XL and to fully document the climate impacts of the proposed pipeline.

Also, check out the new report by the  National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pipeline Safety Trust, and the Sierra Club: Tar Sands Pipeline Satefy Risks

Fortunately, the Transportation Bill that the President signed on July 6th did not include the pro-K XL provisions championed by House Republicans, but we have much work ahead to oppose dirty tar sands oil and build our clean energy future.

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