tagged w/ bitumen
A new study suggests that permitting more tar sands oil to flow would raise greenhouse gas pollution by the equivalent of nearly 40 million cars and trucks
By David Biello
The Keystone XL Pipeline would move enough tar sands oil to result in another 181 million metric tons of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere yearly. A new report prepared by environmental group Oil Change International (OCI) analyzes what the climate change impacts of the proposed pipeline might be.
Consultants hired by the U.S. State Department determined that completing the Keystone XL Pipeline that would transport tar sands from Canada to Texas would have no impact on greenhouse gas emissions, largely because they assumed that the tar sands oil would flow regardless. But the new report challenges that assertion, noting that the tar sands are stranded in Alberta and face few good pipeline prospects, either to Canada's west coast or via reversing the flow of existing pipelines to North America's east coast. "Other options like rail or truck are not feasible for the transportation of large quantities," said Elizabeth Shope, anti–tar sands advocate with environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a conference call with reporters, noting that such alternative transportation more than triples the cost of moving tar sands oil. "It's increasingly clear that without Keystone XL, the tar sands will not be able to expand at such a reckless pace."
If Keystone XL is built, and an additional 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil flows south each day, the climate change impacts will be "unacceptable," said former NASA climatologist James Hansen on the conference call. "Yet, governments are not only allowing the development of any fossil fuel that can be found, but particularly unconventional oil like tar sands and shale oil." Based on an estimate of 598 kilograms of greenhouse gases per barrel of oil, Keystone's more than 300 million barrels a year would result in more pollution than that emitted by 37.7 million passenger cars.
Of course, Keystone XL might not be used at full capacity at all times and industry estimates of the greenhouse gases associated with producing and burning tar sands oil can be as low as 482 kilograms per barrel, depending on whether the tar sands were mined or not. "We'll continue to drive [that number] down," says Greg Stringham, vice president for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). "If the oil is going to be consumed anyway, then it has to come from some source, and we think we should be the preferred source."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Keystone XL tar sands oil would result in additional greenhouse gas emissions of 27 million metric tons annually compared with conventional oil. Regardless, the tar sands represent a significant chunk of potential carbon emissions, and those from tar sands have increased in recent years—up 16 percent since 2009, according to CAPP. Keystone XL itself would exacerbate that—the U.S. State Department notes that the greenhouse gas emissions from just the pipeline's pumps would be 4.4 million metric tons per year, roughly the same as one average U.S. coal-fired power plant.
Present economic trends may help keep tar sands carbon underground, however. The recent gusher in shale oil from North Dakota and elsewhere may reduce the demand for tar sands oil here in the U.S., at least in the short term. But such shale oil may not represent a significant improvement in the long run for the climate. As Steve Kretzmann, executive director of OCI, noted in response to Scientific American, the flares of methane from such oil wells are visible from space. "Methane is a potent greenhouse gas as well," he added. "Frankly, I don't think we even have a very good estimate of how bad that [shale oil] is."
More at the link
Why aren't CEOS of fossil fuel companies that collude with governments and lie to people about matters that concern their health and lives considered terrorists? Why isn't the Arkansas oil spill, the BP ecocide, the Kalamazoo River spill and the countless other "spills" we don't hear about that threaten the lives and livelihoods of Americans and people globally because we are being lied to considered terrorist acts?A new study suggests that permitting more tar sands oil to flow would raise greenhouse... more
HOUSTON, TX – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 8:00AM –-Longtime Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey Jr. have locked their necks to oil tanker trucks destined for Valero’s Houston Refinery in solidarity with Tar Sands Blockade’s protests of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Valero Energy Corp. is among the largest investors in TransCanada’s toxic tar sands pipeline that will terminate near the community of Manchester, located in the shadow of Valero’s refinery. Not only are Wilson and Lindsey blockading the Valero refinery, the two lifelong friends have also vowed to begin a sustained hunger strike demanding that Valero divest from Keystone XL and invest that money into the health and well-being of the people of Manchester.
With a 90% Latino population, Manchester’s relationship with the Valero refinery is a textbook case of environmental racism. Residents there have suffered through decades of premature deaths, cancers, asthma and other diseases attributable to the refinery emissions. With little financial support for lawsuits and without the political agency necessary to legislatively reign-in criminal polluters like Valero, the community suffers while Valero posts record profits.
More at the link
Excerpt of two paragraphs from website for Tarsands Blockade.
All applicable copyright rules have been adhered to.HOUSTON, TX – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 8:00AM –-Longtime Gulf Coast... more
Members of Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance rallied outside the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Salt Lake City on Monday, as part of a week of solidarity actions with the Tar Sands Blockade in East Texas. Several of us visited the blockade in October for a mass action, and because we’re working to stop tar sands mining from happening in Utah, the importance of working together and showing solidarity has become ever more clear.
Just one week earlier, the BLM said that it would likely release nearly 830,000 acres of federally-managed public lands in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming for tar sands and oil shale mining. In its final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed mining, the BLM claimed it had scaled back its original proposal of leasing up to nearly 2.5 million acres of public lands, but our groups knew this was pure spin. Therefore, we brought a People’s Environmental Impact Statement to the BLM, explaining exactly why tar sands and oil shale mining are far too dangerous to ever be allowed in the U.S.
Standing outside the BLM’s offices, we read our statement, then staged some theatrics featuring lawyers representing the people verses the BLM, as well as a tar sands monster — a creature who never wanted to be extracted from the earth, and is on a mission to stop tar sands and oil shale mining from happening in the U.S. The crowd of about 60 people then attempted to enter the BLM offices, only to meet an armed front of security guards. Two members of our groups were eventually allowed to pass and deliver the People’s EIS.
In our statement, we pointed to four major impacts of tar sands and oil shale mining: water pollution, dropping water levels, loss of livelihoods and climate change. Not only would the mining consume massive amounts of water in an arid region, it would also poison waters with dangerous compounds that are toxic in parts per trillion. In response to companies’ claims that the mining would create jobs, we explained, “For any jobs that tar sands mining allegedly would create, countless local jobs would be destroyed.” Towns across Utah gain much of their income from tourism, either directly or indirectly, and destroying and degrading wilderness would impact everyone who lives within tourism-based economies.
In Utah, tar sands mining could begin as early as next year if the Canadian company U.S. Oil Sands is able to fund and construct the infrastructure for the project. Right now, the company has leases on 32,000 acres of state land and operates a test pit in the East Tavaputs Plateau of eastern Utah at a site called PR Spring. Given this reality, we have much work to do in the coming year to stop destructive mining practices from not only continuing, but growing.
At least 40 other communities, many facing their own struggles with these extractive industries, participated in the week of solidarity actions. Rallies and banner drops took place from British Columbia to New York to London, by groups such as the Unis’tot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Cascadia Forest Defenders, Glacier’s Edge Earth First!, UK Tar Sands Network and 350.org — which convened 3,500 people outside the White House to call on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
These actions were also part of an even broader network of solidarity actions called the Global Week of Action for Climate Justice. Hundreds marched to the U.S. embassy in Manilla last Wednesday to demand immediate climate action, while large numbers of peasants, organized by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, demanded the protection of natural resources in Jamshoro. The Rwandan Climate Change Network helped spread climate awareness to Rwanda’s rural populations.
Meanwhile, in Texas, over 100 people stopped construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Monday, with four locking down and others setting up a new tree-sit blockade. Eleven blockaders were arrested, some of whom were brutalized by police. Houston blockaders led 80 community members on a tour of the refineries and petrochemical plants in the city’s east end.
Kim Huynh of the Tar Sands Blockade says the solidarity actions represent not just a week of support, but a powerful network of allies working on a common cause.
“These solidarity actions,” she explained, “are part of a burgeoning movement of ordinary folks coming together in their neighborhoods, schools and community centers to draw the connections between extreme extraction like tar sands exploitation and extreme weather like the droughts devastating farmers and ranchers all over Texas and the Midwest. Today we rally to build a future where all people and the planet are healthy and thriving.”
More at the linkMembers of Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance rallied outside the Bureau... more
Twelve people were arrested in east Texas today as they blockaded construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The protesters warn that burning the heavy fossil fuel will emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, warming the planet beyond repair.
Four people locked themselves to heavy machinery used to prepare the route for the pipeline that is planned to carry heavy tarry material called bitumen, diluted with a solvent, from the tar sands of northern Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Blockaders locked themselves to heavy equipment to interfere with construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, November 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy Tar Sands Blockade)
While the trans-border section of the pipeline needs a permit from President Barack Obama, sections of the pipeline within the United States do not.
Those locked to the heavy machinery were joined by several others forming a human chain to block the movement of the machinery, while more than 30 people walked onto the same construction site to halt work early this morning.
Meanwhile, three other protesters put up a new tree blockade at a crossing of the Angelina River, suspending themselves from 50 foot pine trees with life lines anchored to heavy machinery, effectively blocking the entirety of Keystone XL’s path.
Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Organizers of today’s Tar Sands Blockade Day of Action say they are acting in solidarity with local landowners struggling to protect their water and land from pipeline spills.
The Keystone XL pipeline route crosses 16 large rivers in Texas, including the site of today’s tree blockade, the scenic Angelina River. Climbing 50-foot pine trees in forested bottomlands, the tree blockaders arranged their platforms and settled in for a long standoff in protection of fresh drinking and agricultural water.
But within a few hours they were in custody and on their way to jail.
One of the Angelina tree sitters, Lizzy Alvarado, is a cinematography student at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches and a founder of the Nacogdoches Rat Skulls, an all female cycling advocacy organization.
Tar Sands Blockade tree sitter Lizzy Alvarado on a platform near the Angelina River, November 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy Tar Sands Blockade)
“I climbed this tree in honor of all the landowners who have been bullied mercilessly into signing easement contracts and who were then silenced through fear by TransCanada’s threat of endless litigation,” said Alvarado. “That’s not what this country stands for in my mind, and if we don’t take a stand here to secure our rights now, then it will keep happening to everyone.”
“What’s happening isn’t just threatening my community’s drinking water but it will threaten that of all communities along the pipeline’s path,” she said.
Cherokee County sheriffs were caught on tape making multiple threats to cut the support lines of the tree blockaders, which could have been fatal for Alvarado and the other blockaders.
But instead the sheriffs brought in a cherry picker to extract the blockaders. In response, a several dozen ground supporters stood in front of the truck with the cherry picker and pushed up against it in an attempt to stop it. The truck driver refused to stop until the truck hit one of the supporters and almost dragged him underneath the vehicle.
To disperse the blockade supporters, law enforcement officials sprayed people in the face with pepper spray, including Jeanette Singleton, a 75 year old woman with a heart condition.
Eye-witnesses say that Alvarado and another blockader were strip-searched by police after they were arrested. “Lizzy’s flexicuffs were also fastened so tightly that she was brought to tears and begging to have them loosened. When they were finally removed, they left marks on her wrists. Police were also very aggressive about removing Lizzy’s piercings,” said a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson.
All four blockaders locked to the heavy machinery were also arrested after being pepper sprayed and placed in pain compliance positions by Cherokee County sheriffs. Supporters at the ground blockade and at the tree blockade also were arrested.
Those arrested will not be released until after they see a judge in the morning. Their charges are not unknown.
A tar sands blockader is removed from lockdown by Cherokee County sheriffs after he was peppersprayed, November 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy Tar Sands Blockade)
“Tar Sands Blockade stands with all communities affected by the Canadian tar sands,” said Ron Seifert, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “From indigenous nations in Alberta, Canada to the besieged refinery neighborhoods of the American Gulf Coast where the tar sands will be refined, there’s a groundswell of resistance demanding an end to toxic tar sands exploitation.”
While these multi-site actions halted Keystone XL construction this morning, local community members rallied at Lake Nacogdoches to further highlight the threats Keystone XL poses to the community’s watershed and public health.
Environment News Service (http://s.tt/1uaGG)
More at the linkTwelve people were arrested in east Texas today as they blockaded construction of... more
A Canadian company opens a test pit in Utah and could be running a sizeable mine by early 2014. But is there enough water to support the industry?
To the ancient Indians who roamed the Colorado Plateau in what is now eastern Utah, the black globs of sticky, smelly bitumen they picked up from the sandy soil mystified them so much they called the strange substance "rocks that burn."
Today, the bitumen that fascinated the Indians for its mysterious quality of combustion is the focal point of a battle over whether bitumen—a thick, tarry substance also known as tar sands oil—should be mined in Utah, which harbors the nation's largest oil sands deposits.
According to the Utah Geological Survey, about 25 billion barrels of bitumen are buried on state and federal land. If every drop of that oil was extracted, it would supply all the nation's current oil needs for a little more than three years.
Utah regulators already have issued permits to an up-start Canadian energy development company that hopes to mine nearly 6,000 acres. The Calgary-based company, U.S. Oil Sands Inc., has scooped open a two-acre test pit in its first step toward full-scale production. If it keeps to its timetable, the nation's first sizeable oil sands mine will be operating in this largely unspoiled wilderness by early 2014.
But even as U.S. Oil Sands is finalizing its plans and calling its operation "shovel ready," two environmental organizations have stepped up their efforts to keep oil sands mining out of Utah. They say that ripping open the land for bitumen is an imprudent and desperate attempt to slake the national thirst for oil—and that it threatens what little water there is in a vast yet delicate ecosystem. According to a letter written by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, "It is expected that the mine will use 116 gallons of water per minute on a 24-hour basis."
"This is the time and place to stop it, stop the needless assault on our wilderness," said John Weisheit, a river guide who for the last decade has been the conservation director of Living Rivers, a Moab-based environmental organization.
Click here to view a slideshow of the U.S. Oil Sands test pit in eastern Utah
Living Rivers has joined with Western Resource Advocates, a nonprofit environmental law and policy organization, to appeal U.S. Oil Sands' mining permit. An administrative law judge in Salt Lake City is expected to rule soon on their argument that state regulators ignored threats to ground water when they granted the permit.
In a preface to a 2010 report on tar sands and oil shale, Western Resource Advocates President Karin P. Sheldon said oil sands mining offers too little energy in exchange for the water consumption and environmental destruction and expense it requires. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, at least 4,000 pounds of earth will be dug up for every 20 gallons of gasoline made from oil sands.
U.S. Oil Sands estimates that as much as two barrels of water will be used for each of the 2,000 barrels of bitumen it expects to produce each day. (Converted into gallons, that means the company needs as much as 168,000 gallons of water to produce 84,000 gallons of bitumen.) Company officials say 85 percent of the water will be recycled, with the remainder lost to evaporation or returned to the pit as moisture in the leftover sand.
More at the linkA Canadian company opens a test pit in Utah and could be running a sizeable mine by... more
This is why activism matters.
Six months ago, the Obama Administration was set to approve one of the single most environmentally disastrous fossil fuel projects imaginable.
Today, it's dead.
The Keystone XL pipeline - designed to bring filthy tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas so that oil companies can profit by selling the oil overseas - was dealt a severe setback Wednesday when President Obama said no to an election year blackmail threat by the American Petroleum Institute and its lackeys in Congress.
But President Obama didn't reject Keystone XL because he wanted to. Or because he thought it was the right thing to do. Or because he thought it would help his reelection campaign. He rejected it because you made him do it.
It's a victory for activists. But because the President rejected the pipeline on a narrow technicality,1 in no way has he set down a clear marker against the pipeline or the carbon bomb that burning Canadian tar sands oil in China represents.
We want to thank the many groups and thousands of activists, who, following the inspiring call of Bill McKibben, joined us in putting massive public pressure on the President. In fact, CREDO waged the single largest activism campaign in our history.2
It was this pressure that forced President Obama to initially delay the decision in November. And it was this pressure, combined with the Republicans' overzealous and irresponsible demand of a 60-day deadline that forced him to reject the pipeline permit.
Our pressure overcame the lies and propaganda of Republicans and oil giants, and their threats of massive political consequences if he didn't approve it.
Rejecting this pipeline was the right thing to do. But by rejecting it purely on a technicality, there are many things President Obama did not do:
•He did not close the door to this pipeline once and for all. In fact, he specifically opened the door to the southern portion of Keystone XL, which would allow this oil to be exported overseas -- the real reason TransCanada wanted Keystone XL in the first place.
•He did not explain the imperative of stopping not just this project, but others that will expedite disastrous warming. Just the opposite -- he touted the need to expand oil and gas drilling and made no mention of clean energy.
•He did not refute the lies of Republicans and polluters, whose biggest "jobs plan" is a foreign oil pipeline whose chief purpose is to export oil overseas.
The time to lead us away from dirty fuels and prevent escalating global catastrophes from climate change is here. And President Obama still can.
Tell President Obama: It's time to lead on climate. Make the case in your State of the Union Address.
Until President Obama makes a clear and compelling case to the American people for sweeping action to reduce our dependence on any and all fossil fuels, the pace of our transition will remain slower than what is required to stem the onrushing danger of climate pollution.
Until he refutes the false choice presented by Big Oil and Republicans -- that we must choose between a clean energy future and a stable economy - he empowers and remains vulnerable to their attacks.
Until he shows his commitment to clean energy over dirty fossil fuels, the energy of progressive activists will be spent fighting individual bad decisions, instead of pushing to support needed progressive policies.
And ultimately, until President Obama takes the opportunity for a true moment of leadership that publicly raises the stakes on the fight to stabilize our climate, the State of our Union will remain deeply clouded.
More at the linkThis is why activism matters.
Six months ago, the Obama Administration was set to... more
Pipeline operator TransCanada Corp. said it would back the rerouting of a controversial US-Canada oil pipeline, after the Obama administration delayed its final decision on the project.
The company said it supported legislation in the US state of Nebraska that would ensure the Keystone XL pipeline does not pass through the state’s Sand Hills area, which features important wetlands and a sensitive ecosystem.
“I am pleased to tell you that the positive conversations we have had with Nebraska leaders have resulted in legislation that respects the concerns of Nebraskans and supports the development of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada’s president for energy and oil pipelines.
“I can confirm the route will be changed and Nebraskans will play an important role in determining the final route.”
Pourbaix said the proposed legislation “is a critical step” in moving the project forward.
Last week, the US administration said it would study an alternate route for the pipeline to bring petroleum from Canada’s western oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico, saying a final decision may not come until 2013 — after next year’s presidential elections.
After months of wrangling, the State Department said it needed more time to assess its environmental implications.
The department said its move was based on specific concerns about the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, which is along the proposed pipeline route from Canada’s Alberta province to refineries in Texas.
On Thursday, US officials said it was “reasonable to expect” that its review process “could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2013″ — after President Barack Obama bids for re-election in November 2012.
The project puts two of Obama’s goals — energy independence and cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions — at odds. It also pits environmentalists and labor, both usually key Democratic Party supporters, against each other.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford, in Washington to meet US officials about the project, hailed the latest news on the efforts to find a new route.
“I think it’s good news today, it’s different circumstances than we had last week,” she said.
“It’s something I can be more optimistic about now than I could have been this morning, as we all could have been this morning,” Redford said.
“So, back on track? I think that in terms of the regulatory process, while it had slowed down, I didn’t feel we were off track. So we’ll say that we’re optimistic still.”
More at the linkPipeline operator TransCanada Corp. said it would back the rerouting of a... more
With the Keystone XL pipeline on hold, the giant companies tapping Canada’s oil sands will turn to Plan B — existing pipelines to the United States.
Those pipelines, which now carry slightly more than 1 million barrels a day from Canada’s oil sands to the United States, can be expanded by adding pumping stations. Some companies, notably Enbridge, already have plans to boost the capacity of their lines and speed the journey of crude from Alberta to Texas.
.“It’s inevitable that it will get here. This oil will have to find a market,” said Fadel Gheit, oil analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. “All these competing pipelines are going to rethink their strategy.”
That would disappoint foes of the Keystone XL pipeline, who hope that the delay or defeat of the project would impede the growth in output from the oil sands, whose exploitation releases 5 to 15 percent more greenhouse gases than the average crude used in the United States.
Asked what the Keystone delay would mean for oil sands development, a spokesman for Chevron, which owns 20 percent of one of the oil sands projects, said: “The Keystone decision has no implications for Chevron.”
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers forecasts that oil sands output will nearly double from 1.5 million barrels a day in 2010 to 2.9 million barrels a day by 2020. Proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline warned that a rejection of the project would lead to exports to China via a pipeline to Canada’s west coast, or shipments to the United States using barges, trucks and railroads, thus creating a larger carbon footprint.
Many Canadians prefer a pipeline to be built from Alberta to eastern Canada, which still imports oil from Saudi Arabia.
But oil analysts said Friday that existing pipelines to the United States offer the easiest and most likely fallback plans.
Enbridge is a likely choice for oil companies seeking additional pipeline space over the next two or three years. The company’s 1,000-mile long Alberta Clipper line, which went into operation last year, goes from Hardesty, Alberta, to Superior, Wis., and has an initial capacity of 450,000 barrels a day. But it can be pushed up to 800,000 barrels a day, the company says. That alone would make up for half of the capacity Keystone XL would have added.
more at the linkWith the Keystone XL pipeline on hold, the giant companies tapping Canada’s oil... more
We need more than sound bytes in an election year. Now, I am really not too hopeful considering that BP will once again be allowed to drill in the Gulf and Shell is going to be allowed to drill the Arctic. So while this action alone even if it isn't approved won't actually stop the tarsands, or stop BP, or stop Shell, or stop Chevron, it will stop a catastrophe waiting to happen to our water, agriculture, climate balance and health. And President Obama, I don't really think you have any other choice. You need to make the right one, and not because it is close to an election year, but because you meant what you said in 2007 when you were running the first time. Actions speak louder than words.
http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/11/04/361628/keystone-xl-pipeline-ad/We need more than sound bytes in an election year. Now, I am really not too hopeful... more
President Obama’s new senior campaign adviser lobbied the administration last year to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a relationship that’s feeding environmentalists’ claims that the White House is too close to pipeline developer TransCanada Corp.
Lobbying disclosure records show that Broderick Johnson lobbied in favor of the pipeline – which remains under administration review – during the fourth quarter of 2010 while he was with the firm Bryan Cave.
Johnson, a former partner with the firm, left Bryan Cave in April. He's a veteran of the Clinton White House and Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential campaign.
Johnson was part of a well-connected team at at Bryan Cave that lobbied Congress, the executive office of the president, the State Department, the Commerce Department and other agencies on TransCanada's behalf, records show.
The team included Jeff Berman, the former delegate counter for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and David Russell, a former chief of staff to the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), according to records.
The hiring by Obama’s reelection campaign comes as environmentalists are already alleging the ongoing State Department review of Keystone XL is tilted in favor of TransCanada, which is seeking federal approval for a $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline to bring crude from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.
Green groups have highlighted friendly emails between TransCanada lobbyist Paul Elliot — a former 2008 campaign aide to now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — and the State Department.
Bill McKibben, the climate activist helping to orchestrate anti-Keystone protests at the White House, slammed the announcement that Johnson is advising Obama’s reelection campaign.
“It stinks. I don't think you could conceive a more elaborate way to disrespect not just the environmental community but also Occupy Wall Street, because this is simply a reminder of the way that corporate lobbyists dominate our politics. Forget ‘Hope and Change’ — it's like they want their new slogan to be 'Business as Usual,’ ” McKibben, founder of the group 350.org, said in a statement.
Green groups and some lawmakers are also questioning the use of the firm Cardno ENTRIX to perform State’s environmental impact study of the proposed pipeline — which gave it a largely favorable review — despite the firm’s financial ties TransCanada.
McKibben and other environmentalists are pushing Obama to reject TransCanada’s proposal and are planning a Nov. 6 demonstration at the White House.
More than 1,200 people were arrested in peaceful protests against the project near the White House over the summer. The State Department plans to make a final decision on the project around the end of the year.
more at the link
http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQQEshUbrC1fVdvlb0YGkTOKpzDirD6J-RDes3xEG2990Zm-N9Mi68SNCz4President Obama’s new senior campaign adviser lobbied the administration last... more
Fuel from oil sands projects face effective ban under EU proposals, though UK may oppose green plan
Oil from controversial and environmentally destructive tar sands is likely to be all but banned from Europe after a decision on Tuesday. The move also casts doubt on the future of other controversial energy sources such as shale gas.
Tar sands (also known as oil sands) have been a target of green campaigners for several years, as the extraction of low quality oil from sands – chiefly in Canada to date – produces far greater greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil drilling operations, and requires vast quantities of water. The exploitation of tar sands has also led to the destruction of swaths of forest and is blamed for water and air pollution.
In a victory for Connie Hedegaard, the EU's climate change commissioner, the commission has decided to back a new directive on fuel quality. This will set minimum environmental standards for a range of fuels, including tar sands, coal converted to liquid and oil from shale rock.
Hedegaard said: "With this measure, we are sending a clear signal to fossil fuels suppliers. As fossil fuels will be a reality in the foreseeable future, it's important to give them the right value.''
Franziska Achterberg, EU transport policy adviser for Greenpeace, said: "Today's move by the commission is good news. Tar sands extraction is a very dirty business for the climate, polluting rivers, lacing the air with toxins and turning forests into wasteland. Despite coming under intense pressure from oil lobbyists and Canada, the commission is doing the right thing by wanting to keep tar sands out of Europe to protect the climate."
The proposals have now been sent to EU member states who will meet in four to six weeks to vote on the proposal. It will then go to the European parliament for final approval.
If the proposed standards are accepted, they will all but rule out imports of tar sands, unless producers can clean up their acts. The commission has proposed that tar sands be ascribed a greenhouse gas value of 107 grams per megajoule of fuel – this compares with 87.5 grams per megajoule for ordinary crude oil, on average. Producers will also have to cut the carbon footprint of their fuels by 6% in the next decade.
More at the linkFuel from oil sands projects face effective ban under EU proposals, though UK may... more
It is now on to phase two. The risks these people took should not be forgotten.
President Obama, this is not going away.
NO to Keystone XL!
YES to climate leadership!It is now on to phase two. The risks these people took should not be forgotten.... more
There is another earthquake shaking up Washington Dc this week: the beginning of what will hopefully be the shaking up of the status quo that has kept us from achieving the truly sustainable future we can give to ourselves and our children. Those continuing to sit in to stand up for humanity and all species in the wake of the effects of climate change and the absolute apathy and greed of corporations deserve our support.
And this is without regard to race, creed, or politics. This pipeline will affect ALL of us regardless of labels. Its dirty, toxic ingredients will threaten the water of the Ogalalla aquifer that irrigates our heartland. The burning of its ingredients will set off a carbon timebomb that will make the words "tipping point" all too real.
IT'S TIME TO BREAK THE ADDICTION.
The call to say NO to this pipeline is also a call to say YES to clean renewable energy. Clean energy jobs. Clean water. Respect for the rights of others.
This is the moral challenge of our time!
We cannot betray future generations for a quick buck. The price is simply too high.
So please, let's keep this going on Current. Let's keep giving these brave people our support and with each NO or other sign of encouragement we also tell President Obama that we the people are the voice and his NO is a vindication of his caring about that voice.
Keystone XL-NO!There is another earthquake shaking up Washington Dc this week: the beginning of what... more
It's day 3 of the two week sit-in which will be the beginning of the movement of the people to stop this senseless destructive path we are on as a species. This is about more than a long piece of metal winding its way through our country. This is about the global repercussions of continuing to be addicted to that which is killing us and the ecosystems that sustain life on this planet.
And while I too know that to go "cold turkey" would be just as much a catastrophe, we must now work together to make those in government understand that to continue on this path without adequate transition is even more catastrophic. But yes, I know the score and the odds just as those sitting in Washington DC do. However, this is about the survival of civilization as we know it and that is simply the reality of it all. This is a moral imperative.
The link to the thread above was the first post in what I hope will be a series over the next two weeks to virtually protest this unnecessary pipeline and to stand in solidarity with those who risk arrest in trying to make President Obama understand that a YES to this will also affect the world his children will live in.
So once again, please use this thread to comment NO, or any other encouragement you wish to convey to those sitting in to stand up for us that we are with them in spirit.
If you truly love your planet and wish to preserve it, this is the time to make it known.
They want it all but they won't get it without a fight!It's day 3 of the two week sit-in which will be the beginning of the movement of... more
This thread is just one of many that I will be starting in the next two weeks to virtually protest in solidarity with those risking arrest in Washington DC who are sitting in to stand up for our climate, our water, our land and our energy future. Please help us support these good people. If you are in agreement type NO in the comments section, or add any type of encouragement to share the spirit of the people being heard for climate justice.
The Keystone XL pipeline must go!
Tarsands is the sign that desperation has hit the fossil fuel industry as our addiction has become dangerous for the continued sustainability of our planet. Tarsands is the wake up call regarding a moral imperative we are losing.
Consider the actions involved in extracting the bitumen tar from the sand and the process of separation that involves usage of huge amounts of water and toxic agents in making the finished product suitable for gas tanks. Consider the environmental degradation of pristine ecosystems, rivers, species and cultures. Consider the health effects and cancers related to the toxification of land, water and air that have taken lives. Consider the climate timebomb being released by the burning of this dirty toxic crude all to satisfy the greed of those who care nothing for the damage this is doing to the world you and yours will live in. This is not progress, this is insanity.
However, the fault is not just with those who process this destruction. The fault also lies with us. Those who continue to consume it in order to satiate a need that has led our environment to the breaking point. And now, Transcanada and those who seek to benefit from this destruction here wish to do so by constructing another pipeline through the heartland of this country directly threatening our water supply, our agriculture and our environment.
Starting tomorrow and going to Sept 3, people will be risking arrest in acts of peaceful civil disobedience outside the White House to tell President Obama NO regarding approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
(Caps for emphasis because this is important)
THIS IS NOW THE TIME THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA MUST HEAR YOU. THE WORLD WE ARE MAKING FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS DEPENDS ON OUR ACTIONS TODAY.
So even if all you can do is send an e-mail to the White House, you need to do it. Call, write, tweet, blog. But please, don't allow another ecocide to take place. We do have power in great numbers. We do have other energy choices. We CAN change things for the better (as the end of this video illustrates.)
But that won't happen unless we make noise by whatever means we have.
Kudos to those willing to be arrested for this important cause. I thank you, my child thanks you, I stand with you and I will do all in my power to be heard with you.
NO TO KEYSTONE XL.!This thread is just one of many that I will be starting in the next two weeks to... more
Ain’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08 buttons, and that’s what I’ve been doing. If you look closely, you might see them this weekend on the lapels of some of the global warming protesters holding a sit-in outside the White House.
Already, more than a thousand people have signed up to be arrested over two weeks beginning Aug. 20 — the biggest display of civil disobedience in the environmental movement in decades and one of the largest nonviolent direct actions since the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle back before Sept. 11. (Among the first 500 to sign up, the biggest cohort was born in the Truman administration, followed closely by FDR babies and Eisenhower kids. These seniors contradict the stereotype of greedy geezers who care only about their own future.)
The issue is simple: We want the president to block construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would carry oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico. We have, not surprisingly, concerns about potential spills and environmental degradation from construction of the pipeline. But those tar sands are also the second-largest pool of carbon in the atmosphere, behind only the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. If we tap into them in a big way, NASA climatologist James Hansen explained in a paper issued this summer, the emissions would mean it’s “essentially game over” for the climate. That’s why the executive directors of many environmental groups and 20 of the country’s leading climate scientists wrote letters asking people to head to Washington for the demonstrations. In scientific terms, it’s as close to a no-brainer as you can get.
But in political terms it may turn out to be a defining moment of the Obama years.
That’s because, for once, the president will get to make an important call all by himself. He has to sign a certificate of national interest before the border-crossing pipeline can be built. Under the relevant statutes, Congress is not involved, so he doesn’t need to stand up to the global-warming deniers calling the shots in the House.
But the president does need to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, which has done its best to influence the decision. Since the State Department plays a role in recommending a decision, the main pipeline company helpfully hired the former national deputy director of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign as its lead lobbyist. WikiLeaks documents emerged recently showing U.S. envoys conspiring with the oil industry to win favorable media coverage for tar sands oil. If you were a cynic, you’d say the fix was in.
Still, the final call rests with Barack Obama, who said the night that he clinched the Democratic nomination in June 2008 that his ascension would mark “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Now he gets a chance to prove that he meant it. In basketball terms, he’s alone at the top of the key — will he take the 20-foot jumper or pass the ball? It’s a rare, character-defining moment. Obama can’t escape it simply by saying that someone else will burn the oil if we don’t. Alberta is remote, and its only other possible pipeline route — to the Pacific and hence Asia — is tangled in litigation. That’s why the province’s energy minister told Canada’s Globe and Mail last month that without the Keystone pipeline Alberta would be “landlocked in bitumen,” the technical name for the heavy, gooey tar that is its chief export. Critics may argue otherwise, but Obama’s call is key; without it, that oil will stay in the ground for at least a while longer. Long enough, perhaps, that the planet will come fully to its senses about climate change.
It’s hard to predict what will happen. Earlier this summer Al Gore tossed up his hands in despair: “President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis,” Gore said. “He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks.” Yet it’s hard to give up on the image of the skinny senator from Illinois and the young people who were his most fervent supporters — young people who, according to pollsters, wanted a climate bill by a 5-to-1 margin. That didn’t happen, of course; for now, the Keystone pipeline is the best proxy we have for real presidential commitment to the global warming fight.
More at the linkAin’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08... more
Please read the entire article after you have read the exerpts. TransCanada has no authority in the United States, but is threatening US citizens with iminent domain? When will we have had enough of the corporacy that is now our federal government?
Here are those few exerpts:
"Keystone XL, as TransCanada calls its proposed pipeline, will be 36 inches in diameter and two times longer than the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. In Nebraska’s Sandhills it will be buried inside the largest underground reservoir on the planet—the Ogallala Aquifer, which charges rivers, lakes, and marshes and supplies drinking and irrigation water to eight states."
"In the United States the pipeline will chew up important wildlife habitat with roads and powerlines to pumping stations and with the excavation itself. But a much bigger threat is leaking DilBit, which could pollute the aquifer for great distances, rendering water unfit for use by wildlife and humans."
"Johanns is livid about how TransCanada has been threatening landowners with eminent domain in order to frighten them into selling it right-of-way easements. On August 11, 2010, he wrote the company as follows: “I have had multiple conversations with Nebraskans who have indicated that TransCanada representatives have established hard deadlines for landowner responses to offers of easement payments within as little as two weeks, I am told. Nebraska landowners are being told in addition that the use of eminent domain authority will be triggered if they do not accept the offers extended by TransCanada within the arbitrary deadlines."Please read the entire article after you have read the exerpts. TransCanada has no... more
An Exxon Mobil pipeline that ruptured, leaking oil into Yellowstone River, may have sometimes carried a heavier and more toxic form of crude than initially thought, federal regulators said on Thursday.
The U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration spokeswoman Patricia Klinger said her office had learned that the pipeline may have been used to carry heavier crude.
"I just found out that apparently, and the regional folks just found out, there is an interconnect on the pipeline that possibly does carry some oil out of Canada," she said in response to a question about tar sands crude in the pipeline.
That a pipeline thought to transport only "sweet," low sulfur crude could have carried so-called tar sands crude from Canada raised concerns by health and environmental officials, even as Exxon officials said the heavier oil was not flowing through the Silvertip pipeline when it broke on July 1.
"The actual crude in the line at the point of the incident was a blend of crudes from Wyoming," Exxon spokesman George Pietrogallo told Reuters in an email on Thursday.
Exxon was responding to a question about whether tar sands crude had ever flowed in the pipeline. Almost all the oil produced in Canada's Alberta fields is from tar sands.
The chemistry of tar sands oil, derived from tar sands or bitumen and sweet crude is significantly different, said Ronald Kendall, head of the environmental toxicology department at Texas Tech University.
"Tar sands oil is in itself heavier oil and it contains more compounds that are toxic and may contain heavy metals like lead," Kendall said.
In a July 6 email to Reuters, Exxon spokesman Kevin Allexon said the crude carried by the pipeline "does not originate from Alberta" but from fields on the Montana-Wyoming border. On Thursday, Exxon revised that.
"The pipeline carries a variety of different production fields in the U.S. and Canada," Pietrogallo said in the email.
Tar sands crude may cause more wear and tear on pipes because of its chemical makeup, including corrosive and abrasive agents, said Tom Finch, the pipeline administration's technical services director for the western regional office.
Federal inspectors were trying to determine if transport of tar sands crude could have triggered internal corrosion that may have played a role in the rupture, he said.
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer faulted Exxon for failing to tell the state exactly what kinds of crude ran in the pipeline or spell out what hazardous chemicals were in the mix now contaminating riverside properties.
"Since they dumped that oil into the river that the state owns and manages, since they have spread oil in a film across 150 separate properties, since the film is over fishing access sites and state parks, we thought it would be appropriate to know what it is," Schweitzer said.
Richard Opper, head of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, said he was surprised to learn the pipeline buried in the streambed of the Yellowstone may sometimes have moved tar sands crude from Canada.
"If the question is, did we know it was carrying tar sands oil? Hell, no," he said in an interview on Thursday. "If companies are changing the kinds of materials in pipelines to mixes that make them more likely they will leak or rupture, that raises huge concerns."
Exxon has apologized for the spill, which it estimates at 42,000 gallons, and pledged to restore a river prized for its near pristine waters, scenic beauty and abundance of wildlife.
EPA officials are analyzing the chemical fingerprint of the oil which, depending on its source, could contain anything from benzene, a known carcinogen, to hexane, a toxin that can damage the human nervous system.
More at the linkAn Exxon Mobil pipeline that ruptured, leaking oil into Yellowstone River, may have... more
More than 100 environmental activists from across the country descended Tuesday on the Montana Capitol to demand Gov. Brian Schweitzer rescind his support for the Keystone XL oil pipeline and ExxonMobil's megaload transportation project.
Approximately 70 of those activists filled the governor's reception room, where they pounded homemade drums and chanted slogans such as: "No pipeline, no oil, the Big Sky State's too good to spoil."
Two activists also scaled the flagpoles in front of the Capitol and strung up a banner that read "Pipelines spill, Exxon kills. Big oil out of Montana."
Six activists from the environmental groups Earth First! and Northern Rockies Rising Tide, including one activist from Great Falls, locked their hands together within a mock oil pipeline made of PVC plastic pipe and said they wouldn't leave willfully until Schweitzer met their demands.
Law enforcement officials cut the activists out of the pipes. The group of activists dispersed late in the afternoon after police arrested two men and three women who refused to leave and were chained together.
Group members said earlier in the day that they would not leave until Schweitzer, a Democrat, gave up his support for two major projects related to oil sands development in Canada: the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport Canadian oil sands crude to the Gulf of Mexico; and the "Kearl Module Transportation Project," which would ship about 200 massive Korean-built oil sands processing modules across Montana highways to the Kearl oil sands region in northern Alberta. That megaload project is slated to start later this year.
Schweitzer met with the activists for nearly 20 minutes in the reception room of his office, but ultimately refused their demands.
"I'm not prepared to do that today," Schweitzer said.
Members of the group told Schweitzer that last week's rupture of ExxonMobil's Silvertip pipeline — which poured an estimated 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River downstream of Laurel — is a prime example of why Schweitzer should "toss big oil out of Montana."
"We feel the Silvertip pipeline disaster on the Yellowstone is just a preview of what's to come if you continue to cater to big oil's interests and turn us into what would essentially be an energy extraction colony," said Missoula resident Max Granger of Northern Rockies Rising Tide, a group that has led protests against the Kearl Oil Sands project and the development of the Otter Creek coal tracts in Eastern Montana.
After listening to the protesters complaints and demands, the governor said he hoped the environmental activists would put their passion toward ending the nation's addiction to foreign oil.
"I will say to you that this country uses an inordinate quantity of hydrocarbons. I would say to you that 25% of all the oil that's consumed in the world is consumed by us — you, me," Schweitzer said.
Protesters cut off Schweitzer several times during the 20 minute meeting before one activist began playing a honky-tonk tune on a piano in the reception room. At that point more than a dozen protesters jumped onto the large meeting room tables and began dancing and chanting.
In a news release, Northern Rockies Rising Tide criticized Schweitzer for publicly chastising ExxonMobil while continuing to promote the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, megaload shipments bound for the Alberta oil sands and other "extreme fossil-fuel projects" throughout the state.
more at the linkMore than 100 environmental activists from across the country descended Tuesday on the... more
Last week, eleven veterans of the environmental movement issued an open letter to Canadians and Americans inviting them to participate in a massive public protest of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion.
The letter’s signatories, which include David Suzuki, Bill McKibben, and Wendell Berry and climate scientist James Hansen, say that the time has come to move from letter writing and petition signing to something that’s more likely to get the government’s attention: civil disobedience at the nation’s capital.
The invitation can be read in its entirety at tarsandsaction.org, but here are a few choice excerpts (emphasis and links added):
As you know, the planet is steadily warming: 2010 was the warmest year on record, and we’ve seen the resulting chaos in almost every corner of the earth.
And as you also know, our democracy is increasingly controlled by special interests interested only in their short-term profit.
These two trends collide this summer in Washington, where the State Department and the White House have to decide whether to grant a certificate of ‘national interest’ to some of the biggest fossil fuel players on earth. These corporations want to build the so-called ‘Keystone XL Pipeline’ from Canada’s tar sands to Texas refineries.
The pipeline crosses crucial areas like the Oglalla Aquifer where a spill would be disastrous—and though the pipeline companies insist they are using ‘state of the art’ technologies that should leak only once every 7 years, the precursor pipeline and its pumping stations have leaked a dozen times in the past year. These local impacts alone would be cause enough to block such a plan. But the Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous.
And Secretary of State Clinton has already said she’s ‘inclined’ to recommend the pipeline go forward. Partly it’s because of the political commotion over high gas prices, though more tar sands oil would do nothing to change that picture. But it’s also because of intense pressure from industry. The US Chamber of Commerce—a bigger funder of political campaigns than the RNC and DNC combined—has demanded that the administration “move quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline,” which is not so surprising—they’ve also told the U.S. EPA that if the planet warms that will be okay because humans can ‘adapt their physiology’ to cope. The Koch Brothers, needless to say, are also backing the plan, and may reap huge profits from it.
So we’re pretty sure that without serious pressure the Keystone Pipeline will get its permit from Washington.
This won’t be a one-shot day of action. We plan for it to continue for several weeks, till the administration understands we won’t go away. Not all of us can actually get arrested—half the signatories to this letter live in Canada, and might well find our entry into the U.S. barred. But we will be making plans for sympathy demonstrations outside Canadian consulates in the U.S., and U.S. consulates in Canada—the decision-makers need to know they’re being watched.
Twenty years of patiently explaining the climate crisis to our leaders hasn’t worked. Maybe moral witness will help. You have to start somewhere, and we choose here and now.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/environmental-leaders-encourage-civil-disobedience-to-stop-keystone-xl-pipeline.html#ixzz1R0IzA3Vn
more at the link
I say, hell yes.Last week, eleven veterans of the environmental movement issued an open letter to... more