Monday, May 17, 2010

BP wants to transport Canada's dirty tar sands oil to Texas

by: Texas Sierra Club

Big oil companies including BP want to build a pipeline to transport foreign tar sands oil from Canada to our Texas refineries. Watch the latest news story from KBTV Fox 4 in Beaumont.

If approved, this tar sands pipeline would threaten our air and water in Texas:
1) The proposed pipeline threatens land, water and wildlife along the 1,380 miles it travels through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. The pipeline will cross 554 acres of wetlands and 91 streams that support recreational or commercial fisheries; 32 of those streams are in Texas!

2) Since January 1, 2009, roughly 253,000 gallons of crude oil have been spilled across the state in five separate events reported to the National Response Center. Can we trust the big oil companies who claim that the tar sands pipeline won't also break?

3) Refining tar sands oil produces 3x the carbon emissions as convention oil and will further pollute our air in Southeast Texas.

Why should we put our Texas airand water at risk in order to transport and refine Canada's dirty oil?

We still have a chance to stop this bad idea before it's too late. The big oil companies have to get a waiver from the U.S. State Department in order to import foreign oil. Take action today and stand up for clean Texas air and water!
1) Submit an official public comment to the State Department and make your voice heard.
2) Join the Texans Against Tar Sands facebook group and volunteer.
Also, there are public hearings this week in Beaumont, Liberty, Livingston and Tyler. Please tell your friends in East Texas to attend these important hearings.

Monday, May 17, 2010
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
American Legion Hall #817
3430 W. Cardinal Drive
Beaumont, TX 77705
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
VFW Hall
1520 N Main St.
Liberty, TX 77575

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Livingston Junior High School
1801 Highway 59 Loop N
Livingston, TX 77351

Thursday, May 20, 2010
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Ramada Hotel and Conference Center
3310 Troup Hwy
SE Loop 323 & Hwy 110 North
Tyler, TX 75701

For more information, read the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

As we've watched the Gulf Coast clean up from the massive BP oil disaster, besides BP picking up its own PR mission to improve its image, we've also noticed another disturbing PR campaign: the coal industry and the tar sands industry are both starting to use this disaster to tout the supposed "cleanliness" of their respective energy sources.

There are more and more "clean" coal ads appearing alongside oil cleanup articles, and the tar sands (also known as oil sands) industry has already made the outrageous claim that they are "safer" than offshore drilling. One executive said "that while there can be failures with conventional oil and oil sands projects, 'the damage would be much smaller and more modest' than with offshore spills.'"

This could not be farther from the truth, of course. One could compare the tar sands industry in Canada to a massive and permanent oil spill on land. When the tar sands industry destroys the environment from the get-go, who needs a spill?

Here's a fact for you: The Canadian tar sands operations are intending to expand to the size of Florida (and have already destroyed 200 square miles).

The mining and production of oil from tar sands creates three times the carbon emissions as that of conventional oil. As if its global warming pollution were not bad enough, tar sands mining also results in the destruction of the Canadian boreal forest, a vital carbon reservoir for 11% of the world's carbon and a global nesting ground for 166 million birds. In other words, not only does tar sands development create vast quantities of new carbon emissions, it destroys the Earth's natural ability to capture carbon through the forest.

And think BP's bad behavior only crops up in oil? Think again - BP is actively involved in the tar sands industry and has recently been cited for cutting corners on a tar sands project that would have impacted the drinking water for the eight million people residing in the Chicago area.

In October, BP was caught trying to under-count the pollution that would result from a proposed expansion of its BP Whiting refinery in order to process tar sands. The tar sands expansion would increase the refinery's discharges of ammonia into Lake Michigan by 54 percent and its discharges of suspended solids - the byproducts of making gasoline - by 35 percent. Surely the people of Chicago would thank BP for adding "byproducts of making gasoline" to their drinking water.

If that incident doesn't scare you, one of BP's tar sands operations, ironically named Sunrise, is situated above Canada's biggest freshwater aquifer. Rick Boucher, vice-president of the M├ętis Nation of Alberta, Region One, fears that "It's just a matter of time before an accident causes injury or death, and pollution of this massive underground freshwater system."

Instead of taking every precaution to protect this water resource, last month BP's management successfully beat down "a resolution that would have required the company to report on the environmental, financial and reputational risks of developing Canadian tar sands projects." The tar sands have been called "the greatest environmental crime in history," yet BP is steadily increasing their involvement.

This BP oil disaster should be a turning point in our energy policy here in the U.S. We should not keep relying on dirty energy sources like coal, oil and tar sands. We have available technologies such as electric vehicles, solar and wind power which would allow us to get off oil. It's time to make the switch.

There is no room in America's future for coal, oil and tar sands - don't let the BP oil disaster help chain our country to more dirty energy.

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