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Neither the Keystone XL Pipeline nor Tar Sand Processing is a good idea

Cross Post from Iflizwerequeen

About those Pipelines, Mr. President

An Exxon oil pipeline running underneath the Yellowstone River near Laurel ruptured July 1, 2011 and sent an undetermined amount of oil down river. The oil leak prompted the evacuation of several residents along the river.  The cost to clean up a July 1 oil spill into the Yellowstone River in Montana will be $42.6 million, according to a filing with federal regulators. Exxon also lost about $100,000 of oil and other commodities in the spill, according to the document, obtained by Bloomberg News through a Freedom of Information Act request. Exxon’s 69-mile (111-kilometer) Silvertip line spilled an estimated 1,000 barrels of crude into a flood-swollen Yellowstone River near Laurel, Montana.  The pipeline runs from Elk Basin, Wyoming to Exxon’s refinery in Billings, Montana. [Source: Bloomberg News]


The Keystone XL Pipeline is not a good idea for all the same reasons that any oil or gas pipeline is not a good idea. If you need reasons, check out this list of pipeline accidents and you’ll find over 100 very good  reasons.

The corporate SOP for maintaining these pipelines is to wait until they rupture and then repair the leak–always at a great expense to the environment and to the taxpayers.  Of course many of the largest oil corporations like Exxon Mobil don’t even pay US Federal Income tax, thus they are not taxpayers so they don’t have to worry.

About that Tar Sand Processing, Mr. President

I think the big question here is whether you want to follow Rick Perry’s style–”damn the people and environment, anything for the oil corporations” — or whether you will stand up for the majority of us, the 80% of us who earn less than $100,000 a year and who, unlike Exxon Mobil, do pay our fair share of US Federal income tax.  In other words, sir, are you going to represent the taxpayers or a free-loader like Exxon Mobil?  Texas leads the nation in pollution and we need look no further than Rick Perry and his concessions to fossil fuel industry for the reason.

Mr. President, Texas  already ranks as the highest-emitting state or province in the world for CO2 emissions,producing 290 million tons of the greenhouse gas per year and you want to join Rick Perry’s efforts in making that record even worse by approving the Keystone XL pipeline!  Soon all the people in Texas will have to wear gas masks when they go outside.

That’s right, Mr. President.  Maybe you haven’t thought about it but right here on our coast in cities like Texas City* is where that Tar Sands crude oil would be refined.  If you approve the Keystone XL pipeline, I’ll have to add your name on my “thank-you note” to Rick Perry and Harold Simmons.

Do you want me to add your name to this picture?

*Texas City

In case you don’t know, Mr. President, the second biggest refinery in our state is owned by BP, not even an American corporation–yep the same BP that ruined the lives of working people all along the Gulf shores from Texas to Florida.  It will take years for the wildlife  and food supplies furnished by the Gulf waters to recover from BP’s related negligence and resulting Gulf Disaster of 2010.  Thousands of American small business people were financially ruined by this disaster and will never recover.

But this BP owned refinery in Texas City is even more special.  In March of 2005, for example, an explosion occurred at this refinery in which 15 people died and 170 more were injured.  Several months prior to this disaster, Consulting firm Telos had examined conditions at the plant and released a report in January 2005, reporting of “broken alarms, thinned pipe, chunks of concrete falling, bolts dropping 60ft and staff being overcome with fumes”, and the report’s co-author stated “we have never seen a site where the notion ‘I could die today’ was so real”. The refinery had also had five managers in the six years since BP inherited it in its 1998 merger with Amoco.

On October 30, 2009, Five years after BP committed this crime, OSHA  imposed an $87 million fine on the company for failing to correct safety hazards revealed in the 2005 explosion. In its report, OSHA also cited over 700 safety violations. The fine was the largest in OSHA’s history, and BP announced that it would challenge the fine.

Who will you stand with, Mr. President?   Us or them?

Statistics from WIKI and other Sources


These oil refineries run neck and neck with all the coal firing plants in our state for creating air pollution.  Please don’t choke us [to] death by approving the Keystone XL Pipeline.  After all, over 2 million Texans voted for you in 2008–don’t we deserve better than more air pollution?  We already have more than our share thanks to Rick Perry.  Do  you want to outdo him in his efforts to choose corporations over people?

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Liz Berry

Liz Berry