A new national coalition against TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline launched in the U.S. on Monday with a cutting-edge TV ad. The All Risk, No Reward Coalition seeks to debunk Big Oil’s propaganda about jobs and related benefits. The coalition argues that “the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is all risk, and no reward”, and urges President Barack Obama to reject it.
As I’ve blogged before, Canada’s tar sands cannot enhance U.S. energy security. There will be a lot more costly pipeline ruptures and oil spills if Keystone XL is allowed to proceed. The pipeline – and Alberta tar sands – would nuke America’s new energy economy. In fact, the Keystone pipeline would create no more than 35 permanent jobs.
This is the compelling case the All Risk, No Reward Coalition hopes to bring to Americans.
“The cost-benefit analysis of this risky venture makes it clear that the pipeline is not in our national interest,” the coalition says. It notes that Keystone XL actually “exports oil to foreign countries like China and Venezuela, does nothing to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and creates only 35 permanent jobs.”
The coalition presents a lengthy laundry list of risks associated with Keystone XL:
Water: Dr. John Stansbury, a Professor of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at the University of Nebraska, released a report that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would result in 91 major spills over the 50 year life of the pipeline. Given the unique chemical makeup of tar sand oil that causes the dilbit to sink in water, these spills are particularly difficult to clean-up and have long-lasting environmental impacts, as witnessed by thetar sands spill in the Kalamazoo River.
Public Health: The proposed pipeline route passes through the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest sources of freshwater in the country that provides drinking water and irrigation to millions of Americans. A spill in this important body of water would contaminate drinking water and lead to serious health concerns and complications.
Climate: In the EIS, the State Department reported that tar sands produce 17 percent more greenhouse gases emissions than average crude oil, and NASA climate scientist James Hansen has said that Keystone would be “game over” for climate.
Land and landowner rights: Thousands of landowners will be forced to give their land to TransCanada, a foreign corporation, for the pipeline. Many landowners will have their land claimed against their will via eminent domain. Not only does this raise concerns for property rights, but it also poses risks to critical agricultural land.Native rights: The pipeline route passes through a number of sacred tribal grounds, including the Ponca’s Trail of Tears. Native tribes are concerned about health and cultural impacts of the pipeline, concerns that have not been adequately addressed by the State Department.
Members of the coalition include: League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, League of Women Voters, Indigenous Environmental Network, Bold Nebraska, Keystone XL Truthforce, STOP Tarsands, Sandhills Beef, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light, League of Women Voters Nebraska, and Dakota Rural Action.
Article cross-posted on The Canadian Progressive