This week’s challenge at Reduce Footprints is an easy one and would only take a few minutes of my time, I thought this would be one week that the challenge wouldn’t need an actual blog post. Boy was I wrong. If I am going to do something, I will research for all the facts, which I did today. So what is this week’s challenge?
Have you heard about the Tar Sands Pipeline? It not only threatens wildlife and natural habitat, it threatens drinking water. While it directly affects Canada and the United States, it sets a dangerous precedent worldwide…..that the use of fossil fuels is acceptable. Let’s raise our voices and let the world know that we not only want to stop the Tar Sands Oil Pipeline but we want sustainable, environmentally safe energy. Please sign this petition (appropriate worldwide).
Please visit Reduce Footprints for the Petition link.
There is more to this challenge such as finding another issue important to you and signing a petition on that cause or contacting your local officials about your environmental concerns. But it’s the pipeline I want to talk about today. The Tar Sands Oil Pipeline is better known as the Keystone XL Pipeline. For anyone not familiar with this subject, the Keystone XL pipeline would be built from Canada to the United States. Right through the middle of the country to the gulf region where this crude oil would be refined.
If you aren’t concerned about this I have found some facts you might want to consider.
Tar Sands Action lists its concerns in the following areas:
- The tar sands will not reduce dependency on foreign oil. This oil would be converted to diesel and other products for export to Europe and Latin America. Wait I thought this was to be used in the US?
- Gas Prices will increase for Americans, especially farmers by 20 cents per gallon in the Midwest.
- The job projections are vastly overstated.
- Safety concerns: A rupture in the pipeline could cause a BP style oil spill in America’s heartland affecting fresh drinking water for 2 million people.
- Nasa’s top climate scientist says that fully developing the tar sands in Canada would mean “essentially game over” for the climate.
- TransCanada predicted the Keystone 1 Pipeline would see 1 spill in 7 years. Yet in fact there were 12 spills in 1 year. Isn’t any spill too much.
Read the entire article here.
From the Huffington post
The Huffington post did a series of articles interviewing people living around the Tar Sands area in Canada. I took this information from just one person’s account who lives along the Athabasca River, you can read the entire article here.
- Fish are being spotted that are deformed, two tails and other deformities
- Muskrats are dying off
- Even living 100 miles from an extraction site when the wind blows the right direction he is exposed to a tar-like stench and can see the pollution hanging in the air.
- The air and water are being polluted with arsenic, lead, mercury, multiple hydrocarbons and other toxic chemicals. These chemicals are being investigated to see if they are the reason for increased cancer rates.
- A doctor came to the Athabasca River area and found higher rates of respiratory ailments, skin rashes and rare bile duct cancers (as much as 30%) higher than other areas of the state.
- In March, 2000 barrels of contaminated water leaked into the Athabasca River.
Eco watch is also concerned about the effects on the climate
- As a result of high carbon by-products from the refining process ( better known as petroleum coke) the Keystone XL Pipeline will damage the climate much worse than previously thought. This will result in “millions more tons of carbon pollution each year for decades to come,” is the consensus of Henry Waxman, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member.
- Keystone XL would cause an additional 22.4 Mt of greenhouse gases to be emitted in Canada, equivalent to building 6.3 new coal-fired power plants or putting 4.6 million cars on the road. These numbers are even higher when adding in the refining process that will take place. (and let’s not forget the environmental cost associated with then shipping this to Europe and Latin America)
Read more here.
What would happen if there were a spill?
- On June 1st, 9.5 million liters of industrial waste water spilled from oil and gas operations. This waste water covered 1,000 acres, yet the damage done was not reported for more than 2 weeks after the fact. The findings are horrific, every plant and tree that was in the path of this toxic product was killed. Yep, every thing in the path was dead. Click here for more on this story.
If the above information doesn’t worry you, what about beauty? What do you want to see where you live? The above pictures or this?
Since we know the Keystone 1 Pipeline had 12 spills of oil in 1 year; since we see this year that the result of water used in the extraction will kill any living thing (at least plant life) in its path when spilled; since we know the health of marine life and humans is suffering in the areas where tar sands are being extracted..Can we really believe this is a good idea? Will you take action, like I did today, to put a stop to the Keystone XL Pipeline?