As Administration Decides On Keystone, U.S. Experiences Two Tar Sands Spills

Written by Rebecca Leber

One week after the Senate held a symbolic vote in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline, the U.S. saw two different oil spills involving Canadian tar sands crude oil.

An ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured Friday, leaking approximately 10,000 barrels of tar sands crude in an Arkansas town. As a result, 22 homes have been evacuated as officials clean up of the world’s dirtiest oil:

Exxon shut the Pegasus pipeline, which can carry more than 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil from Pakota, Illinois, to Nederland, Texas, after the leak was discovered on Friday afternoon, the company said in a statement.

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry almost nine times the barrels of oil as the Pegasus pipeline.

The first oil spill came Wednesday, when a train reportedly carrying tar sands oil spilled 15,000 gallons in Minnesota. Also this week, Exxon was hit by a $1.7 million fine for a pipeline that dumped 42,000 gallons of oil in the Yellowstone River in 2011 (the fine itself is a small hinderance for a company that earned $45 billion profit last year).

As one of the companies to profit from Canadian tar sands, Exxon often takes to its blog to defend its so-called safety. Big Oil lawmakers then repeat those myths despite evidence to the contrary. On Friday, the same day as Exxon’s oil spill, Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) claimed the pipeline is a “no-brainer” and passes environmental “muster.” The State Department recently issued a draft report claiming the pipeline will have no environmental impact, authored by a contractor with extensive ties to oil companies.

This post was originally published by Climate Progress.


Photo: andrewcparnell/flickr


Robert Fitzgerald


Nature is not a mechanical system that we can engineer our way around. Nature will find ways to spill if spilling is called for during a chaotic period. Chaos theory and climate change is guaranteeing that during this coming century, it will spill huge amounts of tar sands oil further adding to the breakdown of this period of chaos. Guaranteed

Robert Fitzgerald

The new science of Chaos Theory applies here. It is a science of real world physics performed out in the complexity of nature. Experiments performed in the lab are pared down to one or two manageable variables and the results of these experiments are then applied to real world situations. It is estimated that doing calculations on actual real world phenomenon would require a main frame computer doing refinement calculations all day long in order to come close to some approximation of real world processes.

Chaos theory says that a stable system is taking in new information and other things all the time. During this input the system remains stable adjusting and adapting for the input. But there always comes a time when the smallest of inputs finds a system that is already maxed out. The system then reacts by going into a period of chaos--things fall apart. Hence the name chaos theory.

Climate change since the 70s, along with the dramatic rise in earthquake and volcanic activity, the epidemic rise in depression and suicide, the rise of our welfare state, unemployment, poverty,and with the projections of large food and water shortages in our near future all indicate that we have entered into a period of chaos as the earth and human cultures struggle to deal with the breakdown of our world around us. This is real world physics.

The Keystone XL pipeline WILL fail if we build it. And it will fail in big ways. Nature is far too complex to fight against. Nature is not a mech

Debbie Tate
Debra T4 years ago

NO to the keystone pipeline!

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Neil A.
Neil A4 years ago

There is no logic to having such dirty polluting oil when they could have very sustainable sources.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill4 years ago

The price of gas is killing out economy. We are paying close to $4 per gallon and it's killing us! We need more exploration, more drilling, and more (new) refineries!

David King
David King4 years ago

part two

President Obama said during his re-election campaign that he would cut over $4 billion of the subsidies going to Big Oil. On Wednesday, he releases the first budget of his new term, so let's work together to remind the president to follow through on his promise.

Sign our petition today to tell President Obama to end the Big Oil Billion Dollar Bonanza.
(please cut and paste the link to sign the petition)

David King
David King4 years ago

Congress has drafted a budget — three of them in fact. And tomorrow President Obama will release his budget to spend more than 1 trillion of our dollars. We need to ensure he makes good on his campaign promise to cut billions in subsidies to Big Oil.

Not only are these subsidies a drain on our budget, they are helping wreck the planet by ensuring we rely on fossil fuels for our energy needs — when clean, green alternatives are more than capable of powering our lives.

Please sign our petition today asking President Obama to end the Big Oil Billion Dollar Bonanza by cutting these taxpayer-funded subsidies from his budget proposal. Your signature will be delivered directly to the president.

Big Oil doesn't need the money, and we don't have the money to give. The five biggest oil companies on the planet made more than $110 billion in profits last year, while the President and Congress have been forced to make major budget cuts to important programs that protect our people and the planet.

Even worse, these subsidies make all of us investors in the biggest polluters on the planet. Each year the planet is warming faster than the year before, causing more extreme weather events, record heat waves, wildfires, droughts and floods across the planet. Burning more oil will only make the planet get warmer faster, and lead to even worse disasters than Superstorm Sandy.

President Obama said during his re-election campaign that he would cut over $4 billion of the s

E. J.
Past Member 4 years ago


Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson4 years ago