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Keystone XL Pipeline Will Cause Damage Beyond Spills

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, energy, environment, globalwarming, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, habitat, nature, politics, pollution, Sustainabililty )

- 1800 days ago -
But even worse, as the Athabasca flows downstream through the scarred industrial landscape, it is contaminated by toxic waste leaching from tar-sands mining operations that poison the waters, threatening wildlife and the communities that depend-->

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Ben O (154)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 7:35 am
If a thousand petitions could stop it...???

Kit B (276)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 7:36 am
Image Credit: NRDC; Environmental Defence Canada, 2013

Back in 2007, while I was working and living in Alberta and focused on the protection of watersheds, I organized a canoe expedition down the Athabasca River. The river is part of a lush watershed that flows through the heart of tar-sands mining and drilling operations in Canada's pristine boreal forests. My goal was to draw attention to the dual threats of global warming and tar-sands mining operations that are devastating the region. The river is declining as a result of receding glaciers and smaller snowpacks, both of which are consequences of a warming climate. But even worse, as the Athabasca flows downstream through the scarred industrial landscape, it is contaminated by toxic waste leaching from tar-sands mining operations that poison the waters, threatening wildlife and the communities that depend on their bounty. It was distressing to see this level of devastation, but now I realize it was only the tip of the iceberg. Back then, the production of tar-sands oil had just reached a high point of 1.2 million barrels per day when I flew over the boreal forest in a small, four-seat airplane and watched colossal tree-cutting operations clearing thousands of acres of trees, flying over miles of virgin forests that had already been leased for new mines. But soon, there would be millions more acres of clear-cut trees, and millions more gallons of toxic waste that would leach into the rivers from tailings ponds. Since 2007, tar-sands production has grown by 50 percent. [A Clear Signal Against the Use of Tar Sands]

This year, the Canadian tar-sands industry announced new plans to triple production by 2030. A new analysis by the Pembina Institute, "Forecasting the impacts of oilsands expansion," reveals that this rapid expansion of Alberta's tar-sands operations will raise overall carbon pollution by 250 percent due to the intensive greenhouse-gas emissions associated with tar-sands operations. The Keystone XL pipeline is widely regarded as essential to enabling the tar-sands industry to achieve that dramatic level of growthand, therefore, become a major driver of global greenhouse-gas emissions. For example, Goldman Sachs recently acknowledged that without Keystone XL, lower prices for tar sands and higher transport costs will result in the cancelation or deferment of tar-sands expansion projects. Arguments that tar-sands expansion will occur with or without Keystone XL are simply unfounded. We already know that the prospect of a Keystone XL spill could have massive impacts on water resources, affecting people across America's heartland. Moreover, the benefits of Keystone XL are vastly overstated. Keystone XL is an export pipeline that will not benefit the United States' energy security, and will create far fewer jobs than claimed by the oil industry.

Keystone XL will directly lead to a significant increase in greenhouse-gas emissions, and under President Barack Obama's climate test, the pipeline should be rejected. Six years ago, I was lucky to get a mention of our canoe expedition through the tar-sands region in the local Canadian papers. I couldn't have imagined that six years later, the U.S. president would set a high-profile marker to review the proposed Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline based on its climate impacts. This is the kind of bold leadership we need on this issue leadership that will force us to acknowledge the true damages taking place from industrial tar-sands operations in Canadian boreal forests. We cannot allow the Keystone XL pipeline to facilitate the expansion of this highly destructive, dirty oil operation. Since I paddled down the Athabasca River, the environmental devastation of the region has only worsened and so has our climate.

By: Danielle Droitsch, Nrdc | Op Ed | Live Science |

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.

Sue H (7)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 8:00 am

Barbara K (60)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 11:32 am
Our country has many natural disasters, like hurricanes, tornadoes, landslides, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, that could damage this thing and destroy vast areas of OUR country FOREVER. We must stop this from happening.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 11:46 am

If a thousand petitions could stop it Ben, I would sign 10,000 as would the majority of us.

I hope we can stop it Barbara. The more information we have the better equipped we are to fight this scourge.

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 1:42 pm
I think that even if Obama does not approve it -nobody in their right mind with all the information out there could possibly approve this catastrophe- perhaps a next administration will cave to Canada and Big Oil. It's beyond me why Canada is so determined to destroy itself and the planet and they will likely not give up on it.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 3:53 pm

Tuesday July 16, 2013, 4:09 pm
read and noted on 7-16-13 the keystone xl pipeline is the biggest eyesore around for one it's a ticking time bomb and will destroy everything in its pathway our environment has enough problems as we speak and does not need to take on anymore our waterways already have enough cancer and chemicals we need too take care of our surroundings so that everyone will have a chance to enjoy them and that also includes our wildlife it puts a lot of stress on them and being forced out of there homes this nonsense needs to stop and go away if these folks are so hell bent on building this disaster then let them put it in their own backyards and let's see how that works out the people have spoken and do not favor this bad idea.

Judith Hand (55)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 4:19 pm
Noted. Always good to hear from a true 'expert' with experience to supplement, thanks.

Arielle S (313)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 4:40 pm
Notice how gas prices are going up? If we only had a pipeline... (Bleh)
It's not as if we can sprinkle fairy dust on these areas and they'll clean up easily either...we will suffer a long long time...

Vivian B (169)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 5:28 pm
This is the end of life as we know it, folks. If this nasty, filthy sand ever gets started, we are in a world of hurt! It is taking away old growth trees we need to filter the air. And the pipeline itself will rupture daily, with all that sand going thru it. I cannot believe any sane person would vote for this ecological disaster in the making. But you can bet the good ole boys from my home state will!!!
All any of them see is money. They don't see the tragic disaster that will befall us, if it goes through.
Please, please, help with this accident waiting to happen. I want my granddaughter to grow up in a world that she can breathe fresh air and drink water from a mountain spring.
Thank you!

Terry V (30)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 5:52 pm
"The fate of the living planet is the most important issue facing mankind." ~ Gaylord Nelson


Sheryl G (360)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 7:34 pm
The sad part is that this is totally not necessary. We have the technology to obtain our energy from green and renewable sources. That only a few still cling to this destruction to gain some more gold coins at the expense of us all and the entire planet is criminal.

So, what will mankind do? Allow it to happen or wrestle the control out of the hands of the Destroyers of life? I don't have much faith in the humans at this time and perhaps we will go the way of the dinosaurs another failed species upon this planet.

As Terry shows in her link, the Earth will rebound in time and some species will survive through it so life will continue on without us.

Laurie H (817)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 8:04 pm
There are ALTERNATIVES----That's the point!!!! We have to defeat Keystone before it walks through like a monster, devouring everything in it's path!!~ Thanks so much, Kit!!!~

Katie & Bill D (107)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 8:21 pm

JL A (281)
Tuesday July 16, 2013, 11:33 pm
Maybe certain politicians need to switch from having their heads in clean sand to in the tar sands for awhile to get the idea?

Frances Darcy (133)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 1:35 am

Past Member (0)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 6:32 am

Shaheen N (64)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 9:19 am
This should be stopped to save the Earth & Enviroment.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 12:04 pm
This petition doesn't have mr. Kennedy's name on it specifically but it is from NRDC and I dather he is their senior attorney:|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=(not%20provided)&__utmv=-&__utmk=177465632&JServSessionIdr004=32t4rxqed1.app306a

Sorry it is so unwieldy.

Malgorzata Zmuda (200)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 1:01 pm
Przykre to, ale niestety stoją za tym wielkie pieniądze i bezwzględni ludzie.

James Doeppers (0)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 2:02 pm

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 2:10 pm
Thank you, Kit! (n, p, t)

Robert O (12)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 2:34 pm
Thanks Kit. If only people would realize all the harm the pipeline will cause they'd think twice about pushing for it.

Lona Goudswaard (80)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 3:13 pm
Noted. All these facts and they still not listen.

David C (129)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 3:43 pm

. (0)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 4:47 pm

Sheila D (194)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 11:16 pm
Read and noted. Thank you.

So sad that if this keeps up there will be no wildlife to protect...and probably a lot fewer people.

Ruth R (246)
Sunday July 21, 2013, 2:06 pm
Noted, for some of the good that this country has stood for, will some people please stop this tarsands pipeline -- please.

Past Member (0)
Sunday July 21, 2013, 3:50 pm
A previous blog said half of Canadians are against Keystone. That means half of us must be brain dead. I would put the anti pipeline faction at more like 80% but our gov't is a bunch of rich Republican wanna be's.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday July 21, 2013, 5:04 pm
Surely the E.P.A. has this info, and could not possibly approve such a toxic pipeline. Surely the Pres. is aware of the damages already caused by other recent pipelines breaks. Surely, the E.P.A. is under the thumb of some nefarious force....just watch Josh Fox's Gasland Part 2 and see how corrupt it is at the very top.

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 11, 2014, 3:37 am
You have done in fact wonderful work by make such a great blog keep up the good work.
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