Tag Archive: Oil sands


 

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ThinkProgress

Sep 30, 2015 10:01am

CREDIT: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Anti-pipeline activist Allen Schreiber of Lincoln wears a shirt inscribed with slogans opposing the Keystone XL pipeline during a rally outside the State Capitol in Lincoln, Neb.

 

TransCanada, the Calgary-based company behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, has backed out of a lawsuit filed by more than 100 Nebraska landowners, the company announced Tuesday.

The energy company had been trying to gain access to private land along the proposed path of the tar sands pipeline, but had been held up legally by landowners who were opposed to letting the pipeline through their land. Now, instead of trying to gain access to that land through legal means, TransCanada will apply for a permit for Keystone XL with Nebraska’s Public Service Commission.

TransCanada says the decision will bring more certainty to Keystone XL’s route through Nebraska. But it also could cause further delays for the project, as a PSC approval can take a year or longer.

Previously, TransCanada sought to avoid the PSC approval process, choosing instead to give the state’s governor final approval over the project’s application in Nebraska. The law that gave the company the ability to choose was heavily challenged in court, but ultimately upheld.

 

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Industry consultants said anti-tar sands push could become ‘the most significant environmental campaign of the decade’ if activists were left unopposed.

Dec 5, 2013

Keystone XL oil pipeline protest

 

Thousands of protesters demonstrate in Washington D.C. against the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline in February 2013. According to a 2010 Power Point presentation prepared by Strafor for industry, “activists lack influence in politics.” But letting the movement grow unopposed may bring about “the most significant environmental campaign of the decade.” Credit: Bora Chung

As environmentalists began ratcheting up pressure against Canada’s tar sands three years ago, one of the world’s biggest strategic consulting firms was tapped to help the North American oil industry figure out how to handle the mounting activism. The resulting document, published online by WikiLeaks, offers another window into how oil and gas companies have been scrambling to deal with unrelenting opposition to their growth plans.

The document identifies nearly two-dozen environmental organizations leading the anti-oil sands movement and puts them into four categories: radicals, idealists, realists and opportunists—with how-to’s for managing each. It also reveals that the worst-case scenario presented to industry about the movement’s growing influence seems to have come to life.

The December 2010 presentation by Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a global intelligence firm based in Texas, mostly advised oil sands companies to ignore or limit reaction to the then-burgeoning tar sands opposition movement because “activists lack influence in politics.” But there was a buried warning for industry under one scenario: Letting the movement grow unopposed may bring about “the most significant environmental campaign of the decade.”

“This worst-case scenario is exactly what has happened,” partly because opposition to tar sands development has expanded beyond nonprofit groups to include individual activists concerned about climate change, said Mark Floegel, a senior investigator for Greenpeace. “The more people in America see Superstorm Sandys or tornadoes in Chicago, the more they are waking up and joining the fight.”

[View the documents at Inside Climate News]

Since the presentation was prepared, civil disobedience and protests against the tar sands have sprung up from coast to coast. The movement has helped delay President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline—designed to funnel Canada’s landlocked oil sands crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast—and has held up another contentious pipeline in Canada, the Northern Gateway to the Pacific Coast.

The Power Point document, titled “Oil Sands Market Campaigns,” was recently made public by WikiLeaks, part of a larger release of hacked files from Stratfor, whose clients include the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry lobby. It appears to have been created for Calgary-based petroleum giant Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest oil sands producer.

The company told InsideClimate News that it did not hire Stratfor and never saw such a presentation. Suncor is mentioned 11 times in the document’s 35 pages and all of Stratfor’s advice seems to be directed at the energy company. For example, one slide says, “Campaign ends quickly with a resolution along the lines Suncor had wanted.” In several emails released by WikiLeaks, Stratfor employees discuss a $14,890 payment Suncor owes the company for two completed projects, though no details were provided.

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By Michael Conathan, Guest Blogger on November 4, 2013 at 10:24 am

A tanker offloads oil into the Portland-Montreal Pipeline alongside South Portland, Maine’s Bug Light Park.

A tanker offloads oil into the Portland-Montreal Pipeline alongside South Portland, Maine’s Bug Light Park.

CREDIT: Michael Conathan

SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE — On Tuesday, approximately 25,000 residents of South Portland will decide the future of what could soon become America’s next tar sands pipeline. Not Keystone XL; the Portland-Montreal Pipeline.

In 1941, as Germany choked off Canada’s fuel supply during the early stages of World War II, the U.S. opened a pipeline to allow imported crude to flow from Maine to Montreal. Today, that same pipeline has made Portland the second biggest oil port on the eastern seaboard. Tankers steam into Casco Bay almost daily, navigating among lobster buoys and kayakers, and dwarfing the fishing boats that once lined the waterfront of Maine’s largest city.

But as natural gas has begun to replace heating oil in the northeast, and as Canada has moved aggressively to tap the Alberta tar sands, demand for imported oil is declining. And the pipeline’s owners and operators smell a new source of business: reversing the pipeline’s flow to send tar sands to Maine for export.

In June, nearly 4,000 South Portland residents responded to the threat that their hometown could serve as the next spigot for some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet by signing a petition to get a measure known as the Waterfront Protection Ordinance included on this year’s ballot, which would amend the city code to prevent the construction of a tar sands export facility at the end of the pipeline.

Larry Wilson, the pipeline company’s CEO, has repeatedly insisted that there are no current plans to use his infrastructure to move tar sands, but such a move is clearly at least on the drawing board. Wilson has repeatedly asserted that his organization is “aggressively looking for every opportunity — and that could involve a reversal” to ship tar sands south.

Towns along the pipeline’s route from Quebec, through Vermont and New Hampshire, and down into Maine have already made official statements of opposition to the proposal. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry in June, asking him to block any move to ship tar sands through the pipeline.

Maine’s neighbors fear becoming the next Mayflower, Arkansas or Kalamazoo, Michigan. Both of those towns are still dealing with the aftermath of tar sands spills from pipelines that are wreaking havoc on public health and proving all but impossible to clean up. In the case of Kalamazoo, the process has lasted more than three years and cost over a billion dollars, and the bottom of the Kalamazoo River remains choked with tar sands as thick as molasses.

However, resolutions by the pipeline’s pass-through communities are non-binding on the company. As the terminus and the municipality where oil would be stored, treated, and loaded on tankers, South Portland is uniquely positioned to influence the company’s ability to move tar sands.

portland-pipelineLocal efforts have the pipeline company circling the wagons. Opponents of the Waterfront Protection Ordinance, united as the Working Waterfront Coalition, have outspent supporters six to one over the course of the campaign, spending $600,000 in cash and in-kind donations which have come exclusively from corporate entities and their affiliates, including the American Petroleum Institute.

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Obama’s Top Official Pushing Tar Sands in Secret Trade Deal

Trade rep. advocates for dirty oil industry against EU’s already-insufficient regs despite Obama’s promises to cut carbon

– Sarah Lazare, staff writer

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman confirmed by President Obama in May 2013 (Photo: AP)

As President Obama publicly promises to curb carbon emissions, his top trade official is pushing for tar sands industry handouts and influence in the highly secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, launching attacks on EU tar sands regulations that green groups say are already too insufficient.

“The U.S. has no business rolling back any kind of protection from the world’s dirtiest oil at a time when we’re supposed to be making progress on climate,” Eddie Scher of the Sierra Club told Common Dreams.

Questioned before the House Ways and Means Committee in late July, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman railed against a proposed change to the EU Fuel Quality Directive that requires a 6 percent reduction in gas and diesel emissions by 2020. The ammendment under question would label bitumen—oil extracted from tar sands—as a high-emissions diesel, a rating that would ‘discourage‘ but not prevent EU fuel suppliers from buying tar sands oil.

Environmental groups say that the regulation that Froman is attempting to gut is already grossly insufficient. “The regulation is not really doing anything,” Scott Parkin of Rainforest Action Network told Common Dreams. “It’s just saying tar sands should be called something different. We are saying that tar sands need to stay in the ground. Period.”

Yet, Froman charges this so-called regulation goes too far. When Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) claimed the proposed regulations are “discriminatory, environmentally unjustified and could constitute a barrier to U.S.-EU trade,” Froman stated, “I share your concerns.”

“I have raised these issues with senior Commission officials on several occasions, including in the context of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP),” he wrote in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee. “We continue to press the Commission to take the views of stakeholders, including U.S. refiners, under considerations as they finalize these amendments.”

Obama’s trade official is publicly advocating for the tar sands oil industry despite the president’s June speech in which he declared he would cut carbon emissions and only approve the Keystone XL pipeline if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

Green groups, who say the oil pipeline would increase carbon emissions by definition, are organizing a mounting campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands extraction. So far, 75,000 people have pledged to commit civil disobedience if the president approves the pipeline.Protest against tar sands extraction in London in 2009. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Eugenio hidden side) Opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline demonstrate in front of the White House in 2011. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Michael Froman, Top U.S. Trade Official, Lobbies For Tar Sands Oil In EU Negotiations

Posted: 09/24/2013 5:50 pm EDT  |  Updated: 09/25/2013 5:12 pm EDT

Building the Keystone XL pipeline is only part of the equation. Once the Canadian tar sands are pumped and piped to refineries on the Gulf Coast, the industry still needs to find buyers for its end product — much of which will be exported.

That’s where U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman comes in.

Environmental groups in the U.S. and the European Union are worried that Froman, the chief trade official for the United States, has been quietly working to pressure the EU to make it easier for U.S. refiners to sell oil from the tar sands on the European market. They say Froman is pushing his EU counterparts to weaken environmental guidelines related to greenhouse gas emissions in order to facilitate easier oil exports.

The European Commission has set an overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. One measure aimed at meeting that goal is the Fuel Quality Directive, which requires a 6 percent reduction in emissions from transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel by 2020. A proposal currently under consideration to help achieve that goal would assign values to different types of fuel based on the emissions they generate. The proposal assigns a higher value to bitumen, a type of oil extracted from tar sands that has 12 to 40 percent higher lifecycle emissions than conventional types of crude oil.

Fuel suppliers in the EU would still get to pick what fuels they include in their portfolio, but the rating would be used to provide guidance about what goes in the mix. Based on a recent written statement, advocacy groups are concerned that Froman may be working to weaken the fuel guidelines as part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade deal that the U.S. and the European Commission are currently discussing.

Froman testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on July 18, and recently provided a written response to follow-up questions from the hearing. The answers were posted online last week by the trade journal Inside U.S. Trade (subscription required).

In his questions for Froman, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said that he believes the Fuel Quality Directive’s guidance on tar sands oil is “discriminatory, environmentally unjustified and could constitute a barrier to U.S.-EU trade.”

“I share your concerns regarding the European Union’s development of proposals for amendments to the Fuel Quality Directive,” wrote Froman in response. In particular, Froman identified what he called a “lack of adequate transparency and public participation in the process” and said that the U.S. is seeking “improvements in the EU’s overall regulatory practices” through the TTIP process.

“We continue to press the Commission to take the views of stakeholders, including U.S. refiners, under consideration as they finalize these amendments,” Froman wrote.

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With the fate of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline still in the hands of U.S. President Barack Obama five years on, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a crowd of business leaders gathered in New York that he will not take no for an answer.

Harper, who participated in a question and answer session with the Canadian American Business Council on the second day of his visit to New York Thursday afternoon, said “my view is you don’t take no for an answer.”

“We haven’t had that but if we were to get that, that won’t be final. This won’t be final until it’s approved and we will keep pushing forward,” Harper said.

The event was moderated by CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo.

Asked by Bartiromo when he last spoke to Obama about the Keystone XL pipeline, Harper said he has been in touch with the U.S. president “very regularly” on the matter.

“The president has always assured me that he’ll make a decision that’s in, what he believes is, the best interest of the United States based on the facts. I think the facts are clear, ” Harper said.

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freespeechtv freespeechtv

Published on Sep 24, 2013

Five years ago this month, the firm TransCanada submitted a permit request to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would bring tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The project has sparked one of the nation’s most contentious environmental battles in decades. The Obama administration initially appeared ready to approve Keystone XL, but an unprecedented wave of activism from environmentalists and residents of the states along its path has forced several delays. Among those pressuring Obama for Keystone XL’s approval is the Canadian government, which recently offered a greater pledge of reduced carbon emissions if the pipeline is built.

We’re joined by one of Canada’s leading environmental activists, Tzeporah Berman, who has campaigned for two decades around clean energy, and is the former co-director of Greenpeace International’s Climate Unit. She is now focused on stopping tar sands extraction as a member of the steering committee for the Tar Sands Solutions Network. Berman is also the co-founder of ForestEthics and is the author of the book “This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge.” Berman discusses how the Canadian government is muzzling scientists speaking out on global warming, quickly changing environmental laws, and why she believes the push for tar sands extraction has created a “perfect storm” of grassroots activism bring together environmentalists, indigenous communities and rural landowners.

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I  have gone  through the Oil Sands Fact   Check site and  honestly  all I  can  find is boasting as  to  the boon in the  US  economy, jobs and the fact that  activists  are  using the  pipeline and  tar sands oil as a   scapegoat. Not once  in all the  supposed  facts they  have there do they  address the  real concerns, simply   twisting  the  facts to their advantage.  Painting themselves  as  responsible entities.  Never  once addressing that this substance  is way  more dangerous  than oil to  the  environment and  the  water, especially.  The tap dance over  the  fact by  stating that   tar  sands  oil has  been  transported into the US for decades. 

What they  fail to miss is  this:  Instead  of  reporting  the  factual analysis of the  toxic substances that this tar sand emits they  skirt  over the  fact  claiming their emissions testing results.  Now  please correct  me if I  am  wrong , but the  major concern  of environmentalists  and activist is  not the emissions once it is  in the  car.  In  fact the  concern is of the  damage  the  unrefined substance will do  to the  environment  and the  water shed if a spill were to take  place.  As we can  see in  Arkansas the substance is so toxic that   the  residents  are  already  suffering  from it’s effects .

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They  call themselves  responsible entities, so  then my   question is this :  

what  is  Exxon doing  to  make this right? 

Exxon  has  stated  that the   water   quality was  within  safe  limits. 

So what  exactly  does that  mean ? 

Are  we to  accept  the  status  quo with  regards to safety limits just  as  we  are  to  accept that  GMO’s are  good for us  even  though there   are more and more opponents  coming out  stating  that   it is  in fact  detrimental to human  health?

What about  the air quality?  Or does  that not  matter? 

Children are   getting  sick.  People are  becoming  ill due to the  toxic  conditions.

Are we to believe  this is acceptable ?

Or will this also be  kept from the  people and the sick treated like insignificant data as  the  people of the  gulf  were?

Good health  once it has been compromised cannot be replaced. 

Will your  tar sands oil paycheck take care  of it?

There  is no amount of compensation that will replace good health.  Nor erase catastrophic  illness.

Or does it  not  matter  because  it isn’t your family?

I am sorry to break it to you  , but  unless  you  have a crystal ball that tells  you otherwise .  It could  very well be  you  and  your  family that suffers  next!  Do not  delude  yourself  by  detaching from the reality  of things entertaining the belief that  it  won’t happen to you .  I am sure the  people  of Mayflower , Arkansas never  imagined they would now  be mired  in this  poison.  Their children getting sick and  their  homes surrounded, helpless waiting  for some  heartless  oil company to decide  whether the clean up is worth the expense.  Not the  lives  of the people affected by their poison, but their bottomline.

Don’t kid yourself!

With  the   lack of responsibility  and  lack of corrective  action  taken  by   oil companies in  Africa.  With  leaking pipelines and  toxic sludge where lakes had once been.  Dead  soil where crops were once  grown. 

How can  anyone  in their  right  mind take the  word of these companies as to their integrity and responsibility? 

We  have  seen  what  BP did  in the  Gulf Of Mexico.

Do you  truly  consider what  was done in the  gulf an adequate job  of cleaning up the mess  made by their incompetence  and lust  for profits? 

The sea life  dying  as  a result and scientists complaining  that they  have  been  legally gagged  from making their findings available to the  public. 

Restrained by  whom? 

The oil companies?

No restrained by the  government   that  is supposed to  be looking  out  for our   benefit.  Instead  they are  protecting the Oil Companies interests. 

Is this the kind of safety  measure   you  want?  

The  reins handed over to a company  who’s  haste  for fattening up their bottom line poisons our earth , our  air and our water so  that they  can  police themselves? 

How many  journalists  were   kept away  from  the  Gulf  to keep them from reporting  what they   saw  there?

How many  reporters  were  kept from Mayflower, Arkansas for the  same reason?   

Everyone is crowing about  the jobs the  tar  sands oil will bring to the  US.

  Are  you truly  understanding  what  you are   asking  for? 

Do you  even understand that   Mayflower  Arkansas could be anywhere   in the heartland? 

Do  you  realize  what   would happen if  that   pipeline leaked into the  water  shed.?

It  would not  be someone else’s problem , it  would be  everyone’s problem . You are looking for  jobs, yes  we  understand.  We  all live  here in the   States and we are all going  through  the  same hard  times.  We  all need to  work and  we all  need  to  pay  our  bills. 

Where  do  we   draw the line  at  what  is admissible and what  is  over the  not? 

There  is only  one   Earth and when  she is   completely  trashed   where  will you  go ? 

Will your  job with  tars sands oil help you  bring  her  back ? 

Will you  be  able to remove  the  horrible toxins  deposited by   your  tars  sands  oil from the  earth,the rivers, the  water?

Are  you  not paying attention to what  is  happening around  you?

I want  you  to  understand one very  important thing.  The responsibility   for the  destruction of  our environment  is not just  on the  oil companies.  It is  on  everyone of  you   who  don’t  give it  a second thought.  On  everyone of you that  takes  clean  air ,and water  for  granted.  On everyone of you that  places  a  job  over  the  well  being  of  your  children and your fellow  American’s children.  This is not a  game this is a very   hazardous  situation  that  has   grave   consequences and until all of  you realize  that , we  are  lost.

Money  has become the  denominating factor in our lives. 

What  happened to principal , responsibility and honor.

What  happened to doing  what is  right ?

  Where is  the  concern for our   children’s well being?

   I  see  my  fellow citizens on a collision course with destruction,  hell bent on  ignoring  the  warning   signs.  Their eyes on the prize of money and material things. 

One wonders how much that  money  and those materials possessions  will help when  you  can  no longer   give  your   child a cup of clean , safe  water to  drink?

 

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Excerpts  taken  from  Oils Sands  Fact Check

Top 5 Things You Should Know About Transporting Oil Sands Crude

On March 29, an oil pipeline running through Mayflower, Arkansas experienced a leak that resulted in the evacuation of 22 homes and immediate clean up efforts from the pipeline’s operator, ExxonMobil. According to reports, the Pegasus line was carrying Wabasca Heavy crude oil – a blend of crude produced in the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta.

Of course, in the minds of oil sands opponents, all pipelines are made alike and are uniformly threatened by oil sands crudes. In fact, following the news of the incident, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) stated:

“This latest pipeline incident is a troubling reminder that oil companies still have not proven that they can safely transport Canadian tar sands oil across the United States without creating risks to our citizens and our environment.”

We have the top five reasons why that’s not the case.

1)     Oil sands crudes have been transported safely in the U.S. for more than 40 years. Accident reports from the Pipeline & Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) from 2002 through mid-2012 show zero internal corrosion-related releases from pipelines carrying diluted bitumen.

 2)     Oil sands crudes are not more corrosive than other crude oils. In a 2011 report, Canadian research group Alberta Innovates found that acid and sulfur compounds found in oil sands crudes “are too stable to be corrosive and some may even decrease corrosion.” Recent testing and studies by ASTM International and Penspen support this conclusion.

 3)     Oil sands crudes are transported at comparable pipeline pressures as other heavy crude oils. All U.S. pipelines must operate under Maximum Operating Pressure limitations administered by PHMSA. In other words, pipelines are constructed to specifications that ensure they can handle the intended operating pressure and the type of liquid that flows through them.

 4)     Oil sands crudes are not heated for transportation in pipelines above the temperature of other crude oils. The range of temperatures for all crude oils from Canada is 40-135 degrees Fahrenheit. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code for Pipeline Transportation Systems for Liquid Hydrocarbons and Other Liquids does not consider pipeline temperatures to be elevated unless they exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

5)     Keystone XL would “have a degree of safety over any other.” As mentioned in point #3, pipelines must meet certain specifications before transporting any type of crude, no matter if it’s heavy or light. Keystone XL, which will also carry heavy oil from Alberta, is going above and beyond those requirements by adopting 57 extra safety measures, leading the State Department to declare that the project would “have a degree of safety over any other.”

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I challenge  you to watch this  video and  tell me  a  paycheck is worth all this destruction and misery! 

           …………………………….The True Cost Of Oil…………………………………

             If  you  have a  conscience you  would have  to admit  it  is not  worth it.                    Unless this is how you  want  to see  America  when they are done

                                                                             with   her

 photo Nowenteringamericavulturesign_zps13093b1f.jpg
~Desert Rose~

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Citizen group sees ‘toxic’ oil soup in Arkansas

UPI
Published: April 30, 2013 at 7:34 AM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 30 (UPI) — There’s been a “toxic soup” hanging over residents in Mayflower, Ark., as a result of an Exxon Mobil oil pipeline accident, a citizen’s group said.

Exxon said about 5,000 barrels of oil was released last month from a 22-foot rupture on its Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower. The pipeline, built in the 1940s, was carrying a diluted form of Canadian crude oil, dubbed oil sands, at the time of the spill.

Air samples taken March 30, the day after the incident, indicated high levels of compounds considered harmful to human health. The samples were conducted by a student activist trained by the Faulkner County (Ark.) Citizens Advisory Group and Global Community Monitor.

“Total toxic hydrocarbons were detected at more than 88,000 parts per billion in the ambient air and present a complex airborne mixture or soup of toxic chemicals that residents may have been exposed to from the Mayflower tar sands bitumen spill,” Neil Carman, a representative from the Texas chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

Exxon admitted to finding levels of benzene and other harmful chemicals in early samples taken at Mayflower. It said air and water quality was within safe limits in the weeks following the spill, however.

The report, published by the activist groups, said residents are showing signs of exposure to chemicals ranging from benzene, a carcinogen, to toluene, a central nervous system depressant, more than four weeks after the spill.

There was no response from Exxon on the report.

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Study Reveals 30 Toxic Chemicals at High Levels at Exxon Arkansas Tar Sands Pipeline Spill Site

An independent study co-published by the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group and Global Community Monitor reveals that, in the aftermath of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 500,000 gallons of diluted bitumen (dilbit) into Mayflower, AR, air quality in the area surrounding the spill has been affected by high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

Roughly four weeks after the spill took place, many basic details are still unknown to the public, according to recent reporting by InsideClimate News. Questions include what exactly caused the spill, how big was the spill exactly, and how long did it take for emergency responders to react to the spill, to name a few.

But one thing is certain according to the new study: For the residents of Mayflower, quality of life has been changed forever.

The chemicals found in the samples include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, n-hexane, and xylenes. Breathing in both ethylbenzene and benzene can cause cancer and reproductive effects, while breathing in n-hexane can damage the nervous system and usher in numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue.

All of these chemicals are hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), “regulated under the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act amendments as the most toxic of all known airborne chemicals,” as explained in the press release summarzing the study.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Tar Sands Blockade

After an incredible 46 days, Bob Lindsey Jr. and Diane Wilson have announced the end of their hunger strike targeting Valero and its role in promoting projects like Keystone XL.

After 45 days of fasting on nothing but water and occasional fruit juice, longtime Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey, Jr. called an end to their hunger strike. The duo undertook the potentially life-threatening, longest lasting hunger strikes they had ever attempted in solidarity with immigrant communities facing environmental injustice in the Houston neighborhood of Manchester and Canadian First Nations communities fighting for indigenous rights and dignity.

“In Houston’s toxic East End, home to the largest petrochemical complexes in North America, marginalized communities of color are forced to breathe poisoned air,” Wilson and Lindsey, Jr. declared in a joint statement released on Tar Sands Blockade‘s website yesterday. “Children here are exposed to eight different cancer causing toxins at all times and homes are encapsulated by huge industrial storage tanks. The Valero refinery billows poison on top of the community’s only park. What is happening in Manchester is a living case of environmental racism and classism.”

The small, predominantly Latino community of Manchester is the most polluted neighborhood in Texas, with Valero responsible for most of the pollution. Instead of working to reduce emissions, Valero plans to bring tar sands to Texas through the toxic Keystone XL pipeline, further denigrating the air, water, and environmental quality of local communities.

 

Read Full Article Here

Environmental  –  Activism

 

 

Climate activists march on White House again to oppose Keystone XL pipeline

 

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com

A portion of the tar sands in Alberta as viewed from the air in 2006. Some have dubbed this the 'largest energy project in the world.'
A portion of the tar sands in Alberta as viewed from the air in 2006. Some have dubbed this the ‘largest energy project in the world.’

 

Monday, climate activists marched around the White House in opposition against the Keystone XL pipeline, which if built will carry tar sands from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and an international market. The protest, which included over 3,000 people according to organizing groups, is an opening salvo in activists’ battle to convince the Obama Administration to turn down the pipeline for good.

“It’s time to start holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for the wholesale damage they’re doing to our planet,” said Bill McKibben head of 350.org in a press statement. “If [Hurricane] Sandy showed us anything, it’s that the hour is late and the need is urgent–but the fossil fuel industry has terrified our politicians and the result has been two decades of inaction. We need that to change.”

Organized by 350.org, the Sierra Club, and other groups, the march hoped to capture the attention of newly re-elected President Obama. In late 2011, the Obama administration delayed a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline after green groups raised considerable pressure through civil disobedience and large-scale protests. But with the election behind them, it’s expected the Obama Administration will look again at the pipeline and many experts anticipate the massive project will be rubber-stamped.

The pipeline has become a symbol for a lack of action on climate change in the U.S. Although estimates vary, tar sands emit significantly more carbon than conventional oil sources. Oil taken from tar sands—which is a mix of bitumen, clay, sand, and water—must go through a high energy process and be mixed with a lot of freshwater. The controversial industrial process has also caused significant deforestation in Canada’s boreal forest and polluted nearby rivers. If built, the pipeline would carry around 800,000 barrels of oil every day 1,700 miles from the tar sands Alberta. Protestors fear that opening up the tar sands to an international market will spur large-scale expansion in Canada, and resulting greenhouse gas emissions.

NASA climatologist, James Hansen, has stated that if the full-extent of the tar sands was exploited along with the world’s coal reserves “it is essentially game over” for the climate.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently warned that the world could only consume one third of known fossil fuel deposits before 2050 if we are to have a fifty percent chance of keeping the 2 degree Celsius goal. Meanwhile a new report by the World Bank warned that the world was headed toward a rise in temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, which scientists agree would lead to catastrophic warming.

“In 2012 we’ve seen epic droughts and the Sandy superstorm—extreme weather delivering a loud and clear message that solutions to climate disruption can’t wait. Keeping tar sands out of America is a critical step to turn this problem around,” Sierra Club President, Allison Chin, said.

In his victory speech, President Obama mentioned the need to tackle climate change. He also talked at some length about the issue at a press conference last week. There he stated that climate change action would not come before jobs and economic growth.