Tag - Tar Sands

The Only Public Comment Kerry Needs to Deny Keystone XL

noxl3By Michael Collins
Creative Commons

Any project that increases greenhouse gasses above expectations at this moment in history, particularly a substantial increase, must be determined an imminent danger to the national interest if the people living in the nation are an interest in this determination.

The United States Department of State called for public comments on construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  The deadline is April 22, 2013 — Earth Day.  Since Keystone is an international project, Secretary of State John Kerry has authority to decide on starting or ending the proposed conduit for toxic oil from the Alberta, Canada tar sands, across the United States, to the Houston area for refining.  From there, the oil goes straight to China.

Tar sands oil produces 17% more carbon dioxide per barrel than the average barrel of oil.  With China’s intense demand for fuel, the volume of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere will increase at a dangerous rate even beyond the current hazardous rate of pollution.  .

I’m not the only person making the arguments that follow.  A long list of eminent scientists stand opposed to the project.  My comment is likely shorter than theirs and it’s from an ordinary, concerned citizen.  Take a look and, if you agree, modify it or send it as is to keystonecomments@state.gov. Send your U.S. senators and congressperson a copy as well.

Coping with the outcome of climate change is an extremely serious challenge right now.

Why make it even worse?

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Comment on the National Interest Determination – Keystone XL Pipeline

The March 13, 2013 Keystone Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) specifies the influence of Alberta, Canada’s tar sands heavy crude oil on climate change.  Tar sands oil produces 17% more greenhouse gasses than the average barrel of oil. (1)  While the EIS assessed “Climate Change Effects on the Project,” the impact of increased greenhouse gasses on citizens of United States was not addressed.  This impact is the essence of any national interest determination that examines Keystone XL and similar projects.

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Citizens Tell Obama to Stop Pipeline and Get Serious about Environment

Michael Collins

(Washington, DC 1/17)  The nation’s capital hosted over 40,000 citizens assembled to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  The crowd urged President Obama to bring to reality his lofty words on climate change in the inaugural address just days ago.  By stopping the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the president would deal a blow to the rogue energy companies who, by their actions, are ready to sacrifice everything to transport oil from Alberta, Canada’s tar sands, across the United States, for refinement in Houston, Texas and shipment to China.

The broader concern of the gathered citizens and march sponsors, 350.org, and the Sierra Club, represents the existential issue of our time.  We need to get very real, very soon on the manifest threat to the earth’s climate posed by fossil fuels and the threat to the human species embodied by insane ventures like the Canadian tar sands project.  The verdict of science is clear.  As leading climate scientist James E. Hansen said, the full exploitation of tar sands oil Read More

Will President Obama get tar sands right?

In Washington, DC, the day before the 2012 election, an Occupy action by dozens of protesters blocked the entrance to the law firm McKenna Long and Aldridge, a major law firm with the oldest government contract practice in the United States.  The firm also represents the Canadian corporation TransCanada, which is seeking U.S. government permission to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast.

Organizers  called this demonstration a “Tar Sands Solidarity Action,” in support of  the Tar Sands Blockade of the Keystone XL pipeline now under construction in East Texas.   Police arrested four people for refusing to move from in front of TransCanada’s lobbyist’s front door.  Increased non-violent direct action seems to be a harbinger of mounting pressure by environmentalists across the country to persuade President Obama to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline altogether for the sake of the health of the planet.

The President is also under pressure from Canadian officials and the oil industry to give the $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline project a green light, for the sake of the health of the global economy.  Industry supporters continue to claim the project  “will create 20,000 shovel-ready jobs,” even though TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling admitted a year ago that the number is false, about three times too high.

That same day before the election, the environmental side of the argument got scientific reinforcement when a Canadian newspaper reported that government scientists had confirmed 2010 research showing that tar sands contamination was increasing in the region’s precipitation and snowpack.  The article went on to describe how Environment Canada, the Canadian environmental protection agency, had worked to suppress the information and prevent scientists from discussing it with reporters or even at scientific gatherings.

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U.S. to become world’s largest oil producer before 2020, IEA says

Los Angeles Times, By Tiffany Hsu, November 12

The U.S. will become the world’s top producer of oil within five years, a net exporter of the fuel around 2030 and nearly self-sufficient in energy by 2035, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.

It’s a bold set of predictions for a nation that currently imports some 20% of its energy needs.

Recently, however, an “energy renaissance” in the U.S. has caused a boost in oil, shale gas and bio-energy production due to new technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fuel efficiency has improved in the transportation sector. The clean energy industry has seen an influx of solar and wind efforts.

By 2015, U.S. oil production is expected to rise to 10 million barrels per day before increasing to 11.1 million bpd by 2020, overtaking second-place Russia and front-runner Saudi Arabia. The U.S. will export more oil than it brings into the country in 2030.

Around the same time, however, Saudi Arabia will be producing some 11.4 million bpd of oil, outpacing the 10.2 million from the U.S. In 2035, U.S. production will slip to 9.2 million bpd, far behind the Middle Eastern nation’s 12.3 million bpd. Iraq will exceed Russia to become the world’s second largest oil exporter.

The new World Energy Outlook 2012 was released today. Executive Summary [pdf], Fact Sheets [pdf].

Somebody’s gotten into the tar sands bath salts, again…


From the Fact Sheets:

Taking all new developments and policies into account, the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path. The New Policies Scenario, our central scenario, shows that several fundamental trends persist: energy demand and CO2 emissions rise ever higher; energy market dynamics are increasingly determined by emerging economies; fossil fuels remain the dominant energy sources; and providing universal energy access to the world’s poor continues to be an elusive goal.

Energy demand and CO2 emissions rise ever higher in the New Policies Scenario. Global energy demand increases by over one‐third in the period to 2035. Energy‐related CO2 emissions rise from an estimated 31.2 Gt in 2011 to 37.0 Gt in 2035, pointing to a long‐term average temperature increase of 3.6 °C. A lower rate of global economic growth in the short term would make only a marginal difference to longer‐term energy and climate trends.

TransCanada Urges Texas Police to use “Aggressive Pain Compliance Tactics” on Keystone XL Blockaders

FDL, By Jane Hamsher, September 26

Two members of the Keystone XL blockade who were physically blocking construction of the TransCanada pipeline were tortured yesterday at the request of TransCanada, according to Tarsands Blockade spokesperson Ramsey Sprague.

I spoke with Sprague today about the use of physical force against two protesters, Shannon Bebe and Benjamin Franklin, who handcuffed themselves to equipment being used to cut down trees so that the southern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline could be built. According to Sprague, Bebe and Franklin began their peaceful protest yesterday at 10:30 am, along with several observers.  Sprague indicated that the group’s interactions with the police had been amicable and peaceful until TransCanada representatives showed up and encouraged the police to “run off” the observers.

Once there were no cameras in sight, Sprague says that TransCanada officials huddled with police.  Shortly thereafter, the police commenced putting Bebe and Franklin in stress positions by bending their free arms backwards as far as possible and twisting their handcuffed hands backwards, and holding them there for 10 minutes. […]

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