"For each of us there is some mission in life if we but find it. All have some definite thing to do, something for which they have been created; and only the doing of this thing will justify their existence here on earth. If we come into the world and occupy space and time without giving back for this privilege, we have not justified ourselves, and our lives in the end are barren." ~ Hay

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Say NO to the Keystone XL Pipeline!

**This post is political, but it shouldn't be.  The fate of our planet is an important issue and is a human problem, not a political one.  In order to cultivate our inner beauty, we need to be aware of our world and what's happening around us.  Please take the time to read this lengthy post.  It is an urgent issue that needs immediate attention and action:

In the next few months, President Obama has an important decision to make, whether or not to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, which will run from Alberta Canada through the Gulf of Mexico.  Proponents of the pipeline claim it will create 20,000 construction jobs and increase energy security.(1)   Opponents to the pipeline claim that it will destroy human health and lead to the potential destruction of our planet.(2)  Let’s see, on one side of the coin it’s jobs and oil independence, on the other human health and the preservation of our planet.  While the decision should be a no-brainer, it is rumored that Obama will approve the pipeline.  Why would any rational person choose the creation of temporary jobs and fossil fuel independence over the safety of our people or planet?  Why is this even a subject of debate? 
Proposed Keystone Pipe Route

The pipeline, which is 3 feet in diameter,(3) will carry in it one of the dirtiest and most expensive oils to refine called tar sands oil aka bituminous sand.  If you want to have a visual of what this sand looks like, picture what asphalt tar looks like before it is applied to a blacktop or driveway.  It is thick, black and gooey.  Now add some sand, clay, water and a volatile natural gas to the mix and you have something that will resemble tar sand oil.  This dirty oil will be extracted in Canada and this pipeline will run through the states of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and end in Texas, where it will be refined. (4)  The refining process is expensive and wouldn’t even be a consideration today if the current prices of oil were lower.  Here are some of the major issues why the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is NOT a good idea.

1.       Risk of Oil Spills – The existing Keystone pipeline, which runs from Canada to Oklahoma and Illinois has already leaked.  As a matter of fact, in May of 2011, the pipeline had to be shut down because a six story geyser leaked 21,000 gallons of oil.(5) Tar sand oil is corrosive, acidic and should not be put in a thin walled pipe.   People are fallible and even the best and most talented construction managers /workers cannot guarantee these pipes won’t sprout a leak.  Shouldn’t we have learned something after the whole BP fiasco? 

BP oil spill

2.      Destruction of farmlands, forests and ecosystems-The proposed 1600 mile long pipeline route will go through farms, forests, rivers and streams.  If the pipeline runs through a farmer’s property, the farmer has no recourse because the government can dig up his field under the principal of “eminent domain.”  How would you like the government to come into your backyard, install a 36 inch pipe filled with some of the dirtiest and most toxic oil ever mined and, according to our laws, you cannot object?  In addition, the pipeline will go through the boreal forest, upsetting natural ecosystems.(6)  As we know, trees provide oxygen and remove carbon dioxide 24 hours a day from the atmosphere.  We should be looking to protect and preserve these vital areas and their habitat, not strip them!

3.      Threaten drinking water-The proposed pipe route runs over the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies drinking water to people and businesses in eight states.   If there is a leak of oil into this aquifer, human, plant and animal life could be jeopardized.  In addition, since this aquifer supplies water to 1/5 the total U.S. agricultural harvest, more than 20 billion worth of food can become contaminated.(7)  This doesn’t just affect the people in the region but everyone!

4.      Greenhouse gasesAl Gore warned us in his movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” that Global warming was a very serious issue.(8)  Hundreds of scientists have backed up his data.  Consequently, Global Climate Coalition, a group representing the oil industry, led an aggressive campaign against the idea that emissions of heat trapping gasses led to global warming.  This was done to create confusion to the American people.(9)  However, global warming is very real and the refining process (which will be done in Texas), will raise carbon dioxide levels in our environment well beyond the safe level of 350ppm.  Actually, we are already over that level and are currently at 391ppm.(10) The pipeline could potentially bring CO2 levels into the 600ppm range!  This is why climate scientist James Hansen has said, “game over “ if the pipeline is completed.(11)  No wonder why nine Nobel Peace Prize Laureates have opposed the Keystone LX Pipeline.  THIS IS SCARY STUFF!  PLEASE…LEAVE THE CARBON IN THE SAND!

Hurricane devastation

Advocates of the pipeline claim it will provide the necessary jobs to boost the economy and lessen our dependence on foreign oil.  Let me shoot down these two arguments.

1.       Job creation - With unemployment rates skyrocketing, we can all be in agreement that we new jobs are a necessity.  The pipeline will most definitely create new jobs.  However, why do new jobs need to be created around a project that is a potential human health hazard and an environmental catastrophe?  Let me ask you this question…If the dirty/toxic oil from the Keystone LX pipeline leaks into the Ogallala aquifer, what would that do the jobs/economy in that area?  If the government wants to create jobs, how about repairing our crumbling infrastructure?  I hear that the Tappan Zee Bridge is very dangerous, yet how many people cross travel over it daily?  Actually, in 2006 the National Bridge Inventory by the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation claimed that 2,011 bridges were rated as “structurally deficient.”(12)  Just think how many jobs repairing these bridges will provide!  We don’t have to destroy our environment to provide good jobs.  We have the ability to create jobs that will make this country a safer and better place to live.

Tappan Zee Bridge in desperate need of repair

2.      Energy independence - Proponents of the pipeline say this will increase energy security and lower our dependence on foreign oil.  This would be a sound argument if the oil we refine here in the United States was ours to keep.  Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.  Most oil goes to the world market where it is sold to the highest bidder.  For instance, last year we refined oil in Louisiana and instead of it going to our homes and businesses it was sold to Europe.  In the meantime, our oil prices went up.  Philip K. Verleger, Jr. wrote a paper called “The Tar Sands Road to China.”  Need I say more?!(13)
Please say NO to the Key Stone LX Pipeline and urge Obama not to grant the permit!  Our planet is counting on you!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good read Christine will share on C&T ; )