Jan 09 2013

Activists Launch New Phase of Action Against Keystone XL Tarsands Pipeline

More than 100 protesters stormed the Houston, Texas offices of the TransCanada Corporation on Monday kicking off a new phase of action for the movement to stop the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. That pipeline is designed to transport tarsands oil from Western Canada to US Gulf Coast refineries in the South East. Also on Monday, more than 70 environmental groups sent an open letter to President Obama demanding that he put an end to the pipeline project as well as set new pollution standards for aging power plants.

Their fears have been confirmed time and again by studies. A new study just published in the journal, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” has found that extraction of tar sands oil is even more toxic than previously thought. By analyzing lake sediment near extraction sites dating back 50 years scientists found that deposits of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), one of the top 10 most hazardous substances in the world, are being found in lakes at levels two and half to 23 times higher than when extraction first began in 1978.

While the Keystone XL pipeline slated to transport tarsands oil from Alberta Canada had been rerouted this past year, the new route still crosses through the crucial Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska – one of the largest bodies of groundwater in the world, which supports about 30% of US agricultural irrigation needs. Despite the very likely possibility of hot pressurized tar sands oil leaking into underground water supplies, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has decided the project would pose “minimal” risk to the environment. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman now has 30 days to make a decision.

While President Obama put a temporary hold on the 1,100 mile Keystone pipeline last year before his re-election campaign, environmental activists are now awaiting a final decision from him in the next few weeks on the fate of a project which NASA scientist James Hansen has said would release “twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.”

GUEST: Ron Siefert, Spokesperson for the Tarsands Blockade Coalition

Visit www.tarsandsblockade.org for more information.

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