The State Department recently released a draft environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline plan, citing little environmental impact.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The review is woefully inadequate, ignoring the massive impacts from tar sands operations in Canada that are destroying millions of acres of boreal forest so important to many of our songbirds. The report further finds that building the pipeline will have little impact on climate change—even though the pipeline would increase emissions so much it would be like adding 4.6 million cars to the roads.
Now, alarming reports are coming from Arkansas on a pipeline break that is releasing thousands of barrels of this same kind of thick, dirty oil into waterways that feed nearby Lake Conway and the town of Mayflower, AR. Oiled birds and other wildlife in the area are being treated, with many more expected to succumb to the toxic oil. The Arkansas incident is the second spill of Canadian tar sands oil in a week. On March 27, a mile-long Canadian Pacific train hauling Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling 30,000 gallons about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis. These two incidents are a stark reminder that transporting this oil across the U.S. is just asking for trouble.
Check out these photos from the recent Arkansas oil spill from National Geographic –
Pictures: Arkansas Oil Spill Darkens Backyards, Driveways
Submit your comments now on this draft environmental review. Comments are due April 22. It’s critical that we challenge the weaknesses in this draft with respect to impacts on wildlife, habitat, water quality, and climate change.
From Forest to Wasteland
The Keystone XL pipeline would drive the expansion of tar sands development in Canada, which is turning vital bird habitat in the boreal forests into an industrial wasteland of open-pit mines, smokestacks, and toxic waste ponds.
In addition, Keystone would accelerate the global climate crisis. In a May 2012 op-ed in The New York Times, NASA climate scientist James Hansen wrote regarding Alberta oil sands extraction, “If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.” He argued, “We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them.”
It’s Not Too Late To Act
Fortunately, the environmental review is still in draft form. We have an opportunity right now to make sure the harmful effects from tar sands development on birds, habitat, and climate change are included in the final review, before President Obama makes his ultimate decision on whether to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. Comments are due by April 22.
Send in your comments today. We need to be sure this environmental review tells the whole story of the Keystone XL pipeline and the great damage it will cause to birds, wildlife and habitat, and our efforts to curb climate change.
– via Mike Daulton, Audubon Action Alert!