Why protesters say no to the Keystone XL Pipeline
By Chandler Schlegel/Pony Post
This weekend, over 10,000 protesters surrounded the White House to show their disagreement over the Keystone XL Pipeline project that will run tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas. Along the way, environmental groups say the pipe will devastate eco-systems, pollute the water systems, and hurt public health.
The core aspect of the controversy is the state allowed the firm Cardno Entrix to conduct the impact reviews for the pipeline despite a conflict of interest. Emails between the State Department and a TransCanada lobbyist indicate a bias in State, and proves that Hillary Clinton was inclined to side with one particular side. (Here is a link to the more in depth explanation of the claimed corruptions.)
Outside of that, there are five main concerns of environmental groups:
Dirty Tar Sand Oil
During sand tar oil production, the carbon dioxide emission triples. The pipeline would 900,000 dirty tar sand oils into the United States daily.
It takes a lot of water to separate the extracted product bitumen from sand, silt, and clay during the extraction process. In fact, it takes three barrels of water for every one barrel of oil. This means that over 400 million gallons a day will be used for the pipeline. That water will be dumped back into tailing ponds after the process, which can work its way into water systems. Your drinking water could have cyanide and ammonia in it as a result.
Communities living down stream from Alberta have populations of indigenous creatures that will be affected by the pipeline. For proof, you can find evidence on how small cities have seen spikes in rare cancer and other deadly diseases. One city of 1,200 citizens has lost 100 residents to cancer.
In an effort to save money, TransCanada has made their pipes thinner while pumping oil at an unusually high rate. These conditions lead the company to withdraw a safety waiver application in August in 2010, presumably because they recognized they would not be approved. A spill happened in the summer of 2010 by Kalamazoo River near Michigan and exposed residents to toxic chemicals, negatively affected wildlife, and had a long term affect on the local economy and ecosystem.
Refining Tar Sands Oil
Refining tar sands oil is a very messy process. When the oil gets to Texas, it will need to be refined even further, which results in higher emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide. Those emissions will cause more smog and acid rain, which contributes to respiratory diseases.
If you want to stop President Obama before he gives the “okay” for the project, you can send a letter or if you want to hear more from the people trying to stop the pipeline, here is a link for more information.
Pony Post is a digital journalism class blog produced independently of The Daily Campus
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