News Release: May 17, 2010 For more information,
Contact: Eva Hernandez, 512-299-1550 or Joe Deshotel, 409-781-1465
Stop the Dirty Tar Sands Pipeline!
Route Crosses East Texas to Port Arthur and
Houston map provided by TransCanada
(Austin) The Department of State recently released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a massive pipeline designed to carry tar sands oil from Canada into the United States with two proposed terminal points in Texas at Port Arthur and Houston. Publication of the tar sands pipeline EIS opens a public comment period that includes a series of four public hearings on the pipeline in Texas cities this week beginning tonight, Monday, May 17.
“This tar sands pipeline threatens our country's
burgeoning clean energy economy and represents a return to
our highly destructive and damaging addiction to fossil fuels,” said Ken Kramer, Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Sierra Club is helping to gather public input to the U.S. Department of State concerning the tar sands pipeline www.sierraclub.org/stopthepipe.
Worse Global Warming and Dirty Air Emissions
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
Texas 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 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.
“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,” said Joe Deshotel, Sierra Club organizer in Beaumont.
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,” said Ken Kramer.
The pipeline will cross 554 acres of wetlands and 91 streams
that support recreational or commercial fisheries; 32 of
those streams are in Texas. (see Proposed Texas
The State Department’s 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.”
Concerned citizens can 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,” said Eva Hernandez with Sierra Club.
If you live in Houston or East Texas Texas check out the Hearing schedule, and attend 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,” said Joe Deshotel with Sierra Club. For more information
on the tar sands issue, go to www.sierraclub.org/tarsands.