Arkansas Tar Sands Pipeline Spill: More Evidence KXL is a Bad Idea

ExxonMobil hasn’t yet released the final number on how many barrels of tar-sands oil was spilled in Arkansas over the weekend, though the leak near the town of Mayflower prompted evacuation of homes and the closing of an interstate expressway.  Clean-up continues on what appears to be the largest pipeline spill since an Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin burst last summer.  In light of such accidents, we at Green America see the recent State Department report downplaying the environmental effects of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline as dangerously flawed.  Some in Congress agree:

“Whether it’s the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or … (the) mess in Arkansas, Americans are realizing that transporting large amounts of this corrosive and polluting fuel is a bad deal for American taxpayers and for our environment,” said Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

In fact, the danger comes not just from pipelines. Last Wednesday, a train carrying tar-sands crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling 15,000 gallons.

To avoid these disastrous spills, and the terrible impact on the climate, please urge President Obama today to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

State Department Does Not Object to KXL Pipeline

On Friday, the State Department released its Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, making the claim that KXL will not  “likely result in significant adverse environmental effects.”  The report makes this claim, in part, by relying on the assumption that tar sands will be mined and burned anyway, regardless of whether the US allows the pipeline to facilitate the tar sands’ processing through US ports.

Such reasoning hides from the view the terrible climate-change effects predicted from the processing and burning of the tar sands, one of the dirtiest forms of petroleum.  But perhaps even more significant is that the report admits that the US can meet its energy needs over the next decade without relying on tar sands — though it backs the pipeline’s production anyway.   Though a thumbs-up from the State Department could encourage the president to green-light the project, it’s not in anyway a done deal.  According to the Washington Post:

The president is not likely to make a decision on TransCanada’s permit application until midsummer at the earliest. The analysis will be subject to at least 45 days of public comment once it is published next week in the Federal Register, and the State Department will have to respond to hundreds of thousands of comments before finalizing its environmental impact statement.

We’ll be organizing Green Americans everywhere to contribute to the public comment period as soon as it is announced. Stay tuned.

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