Category: Keystone XL (Page 2 of 3)

Inspector General To Investigate Keystone Xl House of Cards

Last Friday the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General confirmed that it will Help us fight for the planet:Join the country's largest, most effective grassroots movementinvestigate evidence that the agency violated ethics guidelines when it hired an oil industry consultant to draft the Keystone XL environmental impact statement This evidence adds to the growing criticism that the State Department’s conclusion, which minimizes the Keystone XL’s profound impact on U.S. carbon pollution, is based on a faulty and biased review. In fact, the tar sands pipeline is a climate disaster waiting to happen.

In April and again in July, the Sierra Club and partner groups presented evidence of ethics violations by State and their consultant, ERM. We requested that the Office of the Inspector General investigate how and why the State Department hired ERM despite the company’s close ties to TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline proposal, and to the American Petroleum Institute, the industry lobbying group that is leading PR efforts to promote the pipeline and an organization of which ERM is a dues-paying member.

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America’s Dangerous Pipelines

A new analysis by Richard Stover, Ph.D., and the Center for Biological Diversity of oil and gas pipeline safety in the United States reveals a troubling history of spills, contamination, injuries and deaths.

This time-lapse video shows pipeline incidents from 1986 to 2013, relying on publicly available data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Only incidents classified as “significant” by the agency are shown in the video. “Significant” incidents include those in which someone was hospitalized or killed, damages amounted to more than $50,000, more than 5 barrels of highly volatile substances or 50 barrels of other liquid were released, or where the liquid exploded or burned.

According to the data, since 1986 there have been nearly 8,000 incidents (nearly 300 per year on average), resulting in more than 500 deaths (red dots on the video), more than 2,300 injuries (yellow dots on the video), and nearly $7 billion in damage.
Since 1986 pipeline accidents have spilled an average of 76,000 barrels per year or more than 3 million gallons. This is equivalent to 200 barrels every day.

Oil is by far the most commonly spilled substance, followed by natural gas and gasoline. The data does not separate oil by whether it is light crude or heavy crude typical of tar sands oil, which has proven exceedingly difficult to clean up and is the variety that would flow in the Keystone XL pipeline.

There are a number of reasons for pipeline spills, including damage during excavation operations, metal failure, improper operation and corrosion.

Pipeline failures are concentrated in states with a long history of oil and gas development like Texas and California, but have caused damage to people, property and the environment in all 48 contiguous states.

In most cases, cleanup of pipeline spills is only partially successful, leaving tens of thousands of barrels of oil on our land or in our water. On average, the government’s data shows that more than 31,000 barrels of oil or other substances are not cleaned up following pipeline incidents, and in some years many more barrels are left, polluting our environment for years to come.

President Obama Is Talking About Rejecting Keystone XL

To preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current levels of nearly 400 parts per million to below 350 ppm. But 350 is more than a number—it’s a symbol of where we need to head as a planet..

In the past week, President Obama has delivered some straight talk on Keystone XL:

“I meant what I said; I’m going to evaluate this based on whether or not this is going to significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere.”

“That oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States.”

“Putting all your eggs in the basket of an oil pipeline that may only create about 50 permanent jobs … isn’t a jobs plan.”


These comments are the result of years of relentless organizing by folks across the country (and the world) to put pressure on the President. More than 1400 people have been arrested, including some last week, and tens of thousands more have taken to the streets in protests against the pipeline.

In fact, since March, President Obama and his closest advisers have been met by #noKXL protests at 30 different events — from Washington, DC to Warrensburg, Missouri to Cape Town, South Africa. Each time the message is simple: keeping your promises on climate change means standing up to the tar sands and stopping Keystone XL.

[ultimate-photo source=”tumblr” uid=”organizing-for-our-future” size=”400″ style=”slideshow” num=”50″ slideshow_style=”1″ remove_np=”1″ align=”center” ]

Every independent analysis of the pipeline — unlike the State Department’s big oil-tainted assessment — has reached the obvious conclusion that building an 830,000 barrel per day pipeline carrying the world’s dirtiest oil will be bad for the climate. Even if Canada said they wanted to clean up their mess, it wouldn’t be enough: the government of Alberta enforces its environmental laws less than 1% of the time, meaning that the only climate-safe tar sands is the stuff that stays in the ground.



Senate Confirms Gina Mccarthy as New EPA Head


WASHINGTON – The Senate voted to confirm Gina McCarthy as the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, ending what had been the longest delay for any of President Obama’s second-term Cabinet picks.

The 59-40 vote was the second such successful confirmation vote Thursday, as the Senate follows through on a deal this week to advance long-stalled executive branch nominations.

Obama announced McCarthy as his pick for the EPA post on March 4, when he also nominated Ernest Moniz to be secretary of Energy. Moniz was unanimously confirmed in May.

Republicans blocked McCarthy’s nomination as they sought answers to what they called “transparency requests” from the Obama administration over its environmental policy. Her status became part of a showdown between Senate leaders over delaying tactics that was resolved this week.

“We Don’t Have Time for a Meeting of the Flat Earth Society”

From the desk of Dave Pell

“In a speech at Georgetown University, President Obama outlined his plan to cut greenhouse gases and renewed what promises to be a heated discussion on climate change. The speech was wide-ranging, but some of most memorable parts were actually focused on making it clear that climate change is happening: ‘The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics … have put that to rest. The planet is warming, and human activity is contributing to it … We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.’ Here’s the video of the speech along with some of its key surprises..”

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