ACTION ALERT: 1,252 Arrested in 14 Days of White House Protests against Tar Sands Pipeline
September 5, 2011
TV News Lies & The Christian Science Monitor
Protesters hope to persuade President Obama not to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas. But the State Department already says its safe, and supporters point to thousands of new jobs. Earlier this year, the pipeline was ordered shut down after charges that its continued operation would be hazardous to lives and the environment. In addition to creating a terrorist target, a pipeline spill could devastate the aquifers of the US heartland.
Tar Sands Protests at White House:
244 Arrested on Saturday --
1,252 Arrested over the Last Two-Weeks
TV News Lies.org
WASHINGTON (September 3, 2011) -- The largest environmental civil disobedience in decades concluded at the White House this morning with organizers pledging to escalate a nationwide campaign to push President Obama to deny the permit for a new tar sands oil pipeline.
"Given yesterday's baffling cave on ozone standards, the need for a fighting environmental movement has never been more clear," said Bill McKibben, who spearheaded the protest. "That movement is being born right here in front of the White House and reverberating around the country."
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has become the most important environmental decision facing President Obama before the 2012 election and sparked nationwide opposition, from Nebraska ranchers to former Obama campaigners. A petition with 617,428 names opposing the pipeline was be delivered to the White House on Sept. 3.
Over the course of the two-week sit-in 1,252 Americans were arrested, including top climate scientists, landowners from Texas and Nebraska, former Obama for America staffers, First Nations leaders from Canada, and notable individuals including Bill McKibben, former White House official Gus Speth, NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen, actor Daryl Hannah, filmmaker Josh Fox and author Naomi Klein.
"Back home we are fighting to protect our land and water. This week, we decided to bring that fight to the President's doorstep," said Jane Kleeb, Director of BOLD Nebraska, who led a delegation of Nebraskans who were arrested this morning. "We are acting on our values and expect our President to act as well."
Hundreds Arrested Protesting Keystone XL Oil Pipeline
Mark Guarino, Staff Writer / Christian Science Monitor
CHICAGO (September 3, 2011) -- More than 200 people were arrested outside the White House Saturday following two weeks of protests directed at President Obama in an effort to persuade him to deny final permitting of a controversial 1,661-mile pipeline that would carry oil from Alberta, Canada, to Port Arthur, Texas. The arrests follow more than 1,000 arrests made since protesters arrived in late August to conduct sit-ins along Pennsylvania Avenue.
While a White House decision is not expected until December, the protests centered on an environmental impact statement released Aug. 26 by the US State Department that concluded there will be "no significant impact" on natural resources affected by the pipeline route.
If Obama approves the pipeline, it will begin a series of additional permits, approvals and authorizations, with operation set to launch in 2013. The $7 billion, 36-inch pipeline, called the Keystone XL, is expected to deliver 830,000 barrels, or 34.9 million gallons, per day across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma into Texas.
TransCanada, a leading North American pipeline operator, started operation of Keystone I, a 36-inch pipeline system, in June 2010, making it possible to deliver Canadian oil to markets across Midwest farmland in several states, from the Dakotas through Illinois. Keystone XL will incorporate a section of that existing pipeline in its delivery through the bottom half of the US.
Environmentalists say TransCanada has a failed safety record regarding its pipeline operations.
Federal regulators shut down Keystone I following two leaks, on May 7 and May 29. The first released 400 barrels, or 16,800 gallons, of crude oil in Sargent County, North Dakota. The second involved a leak at a pump station in Doniphan County, Kan., which released 10 barrels, or 420 gallons, of crude oil into the environment. The pipeline was restarted days later.
In a statement, Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer said "TransCanada takes all incidents very seriously ... none of the incidents involved the pipe in the ground. The integrity of Keystone is sound."
In its environmental impact statement, the US State Department said the existing pipeline experienced 14 spills since June 2010. Seven were 10 gallons or less, two were between 300 and 500 gallons, and one was 21,000 gallons. The State Department estimates that the maximum the Keystone XL could potentially spill would be 2.8 million gallons along an area of 1.7 miles.
The Canadian government said Thursday it expects Obama to approve the pipeline. Environment Minister Peter Kent told Reuters that his government "can look forward to eventual approval by the American government" and that TransCanada had "perhaps one of the best records of any pipeline operator" in North America.
Proponents of the pipeline say it will help the troubled US economy. TransCanada says the US will receive $20 billion through new job creation and local property taxes. The State Department report estimates that the pipeline will create between 5,000 and 6,000 new jobs that will generate up to $419 million in total wages. Nearly $7 billion will be added through additional costs, such as supplies and permitting.
Environmentalists and their supporters, including Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) and former Vice President Al Gore, say the pipeline will be a threat to national security because of its potential dangers and that it presents lasting harm to natural resources.
Bill Erasmus, the Assembly of First Nations regional chief for the Northwest Territories told CBS News Saturday that the pipeline will likely harm the Ogallala Aquifer, which covers 450,000 square kilometers and includes portions of Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. "If there is a spill in that aquifer, it will mess up the water for about four million people," Mr. Erasmus said.
The State Department will conduct a series of public meetings Sept. 26-30 in Texas, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Texas, and South Dakota. A final public hearing is scheduled Oct. 7 in Washington. Another round of protests is expected to take place in Ottawa Sept. 26.
US: Canadian Oil Pipeline Hazardous to the Environment
Mark Guarino, Staff writer / Christian Science Monitor
CHICAGO (June 4, 2011) -- A controversial oil-sands pipeline operated by a Canadian oil company was ordered shut down Friday by the US Department of Transportation on charges that its continued operation “would be hazardous to lives, property, and the environment."
TransCanada, a leading North American pipeline operator, started operation of Keystone I, a 36-inch pipeline system, in June 2010, making it possible to deliver Canadian oil to markets across Midwest farmland in several states, from the Dakotas through Illinois.
The company wants to expand the system so that it snakes from the Canadian province of Alberta, taking oil southeast through Oklahoma and eventually into refineries located in Nederland, Tex., along the Gulf Coast. The company says its new system, titled Keystone XL, will contribute $20 billion to the US economy through job creation and local property taxes.
However, the shutdown this week may create obstacles to getting final approval from the US State Department, which is faced with weighing the benefit of receiving 1.29 million barrels, or 54 million gallons, of oil per day into US markets with the environmental risks of having potentially hazardous crude oil moving across thousands of miles of fertile farmland and into its primary freshwater aquifer.
A decision is expected by the end of this year.
The order to shut down the existing pipeline follows two leaks, on May 7 and May 29. The first, according to the order, released 400 barrels, or 16,800 gallons, of crude oil in Sargent County, North Dakota. The second involved a leak at a pump station in Doniphan County, Kan., which released 10 barrels, or 420 gallons, of crude oil into the environment.
In his eight-page order, Jeffrey Wiese, an associate administrator for pipeline safety, said he is directing the shutdown due to "the proximity of the pipeline to populated areas, water bodies, public roadways and high consequence areas, the hazardous nature of the product the pipeline transports, the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the failures, and the potential for the conditions causing the failures to be present elsewhere on the pipeline."
The company is required within 90 days to submit a work plan for approval that shows corrective measures in place related to the leaks.
Environmental groups warn that, besides the leaks, TransCanada is working against the public interest because it is being allowed to use thinner steel than is typically required for US pipelines. They also say that more leaks are certain since oil from tar sands is more corrosive than conventional oil, especially when moved under high temperatures and pressure.
The leaks in May "should be a clarion call for the State Department to seriously consider the safety concerns posed by Keystone XL," said Anthony Swift, a lawyer with the National Resources Defense Council, in a statement.
Besides the concern over future oil leaks, local farming and ranching interests say that the pipeline, if extended, could damage their industry and way of life.
The National Farmers Union, a Washington organization which advocates for family run farms, sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday asking for an extension of the public comment period, which ends Monday.
Roger Johnson, the organization's president, says his members continue to have "serious concerns regarding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline."
"While several alternate routes and potential impact to various land-use types, federal lands and bodies of water were considered ... we feel that [the federal environment impact statement] lacked sufficient analysis to reach an appropriate conclusion," he wrote.
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