Recently, the Department of State released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a massive pipeline designed to carry tar sands oil from Canada into the United States. This pipeline threatens our country's burgeoning clean energy economy and represents a return to our highly destructive and damaging addiction to fossil fuels.
Publication of the DEIS opens a public comment period, and we need your help to urge the State Department not to approve the destructive project. Go to www.sierraclub.org/stopthepipe to take immediate action by commenting on the draft DEIS.
Over its lifecycle the synthetic crude oil produced from tar sands emits 20% more global warming pollution than conventional oil. Furthermore, because tar sands oil is a heavier crude, the U.S. refineries that process it, will produce higher levels of pollutants leading to more smog, haze and acid rain.
Replacing 900,000 barrels per day of conventional oil with tar sands oil the amount this pipeline would carry - would result in approximately 38 million metric tons of additional greenhouse gas emissions per year, equal
to adding over 6 million cars to our roads. The U.S. transportation sector already accounts for one third of our global warming emissions. We cannot afford to increase these emissions through the importation and use of tar sands oil.
The Keystone XL pipeline threatens to spread tar sands to gas stations throughout the United States. This pipeline would give the Canadian tar sands industry access to the largest concentration of refineries in the country and open up the international shipping ports along the Gulf Coast to the Canadian tar sands.
Currently the tar sands industry lacks major access to international shipping ports because the Canadian equivalent of Keystone XL is meeting strong resistance from Canadian businesses, not-for-profits, and First Nations indigenous groups.
By opening up the U.S. and international markets to tar sands oil, this pipeline has the ability to spur further expansion of the tar sands industry in Canada an industry which has already destroyed more than 200 square miles of forest and has plans to expand operations across an area the size of Florida.
The proposed pipeline threatens land, water and wildlife along the 1,380 miles it travels through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
The pipeline will cross 554 acres of wetlands and 91 streams that support recreational or commercial fisheries; 32 of those streams are in Texas! The State Departments document addresses the potential for spills saying, The
locations of greatest concern for potential oil spills would
be in sensitive environmental areas, especially wetlands,
flowing streams and rivers, and water intakes for drinking
water or commercial/industrial users.
Furthermore, the pipeline will cross the Ogallala aquifer in the Central U.S. Nearly every account of the Ogallala aquifer identifies it as the single most important source of water in the High Plains region because it supplies nearly all the water for residential, industrial, and agricultural use.
David Kromm, an expert on groundwater management, writes, the future economy of the High Plains depends heavily on the Ogallala Aquifer, the main source of water for all uses. The Ogallala will continue to be the lifeblood of the region only if it is managed properly to limit both depletion and contamination.
According to the draft EIS, the pipeline will also temporarily impact 11,533 acres of grassland and more than 2,500 acres of forest land, resulting in the loss of more than 22,400 acres of wildlife habitat, adding that prey
species may experience reduced survival or reproduction due
to decreased abundance of forage species or reduced cover.
Please go to www.sierraclub.org/stopthepipe to ensure that the Department of State is aware
of the widespread public concern over increasing the carbon
footprint of our gasoline through tar sands importation.
We hope that the Obama administration will use this draft
EIS to seriously consider the consequences of tar sands.
If you live in East Texas check out the Hearing
one of the four hearings, which begin Monday evening,
May 17 in Beaumont. Your presence in opposition to the proposed
tar sands pipeline will make a big difference in the effort
to stop the use of the dirty tar sands fuel. For more information
on the tar sands issue, go to www.sierraclub.org/tarsands.