Robert Redford: Why Keystone XL Is the Wrong Choice for America
The new Republican majority in Congress wants to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline for dirty tar sands oil. President Obama announced he will veto bills that bypass the official review of Keystone XL.
There are plenty of reasons to block these bills and this pipeline.
Keystone XL would carry the dirtiest oil on the planet from Canada through the American heartland. The vast majority of it would be shipped overseas, while people here at home cope with the threat of contaminated water and difficult-to-clean-up oil spills.
Polluters are fighting hard to get Keystone approved. The oil and gas industry pumped $53.1 million into last year’s congressional campaigns—87 percent of which went to Republican candidates. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raked in $608,000 from the industry for his 2014 campaign, and now he is putting Keystone XL at the heart of his big polluter agenda.
But this isn’t just a battle over industry influence. This is a choice about the kind of nation we want to live in.
Do we want to live in a country where expert reviews don’t matter and industry profits trump our families’ health? Do we want to lock ourselves into a fuel that generates 17 percent more climate change pollution than crude oil and makes our children more vulnerable to extreme weather?
Or do we want something better?
America can power our economy and keep our air and water safe at the same time. The dramatic expansion in clean energy confirms it—wind and solar power accounted for 44 percent of all new US electricity generating capacity installed between 2012 and 2013.
We can put people to work tapping energy resources that never run out and don’t contribute to climate change. More than 3.4 million Americans already have jobs in the sustainable economy.
And we can place public health and well-being above a handful of polluters.
Our neighbors to the north know what’s at risk here. Oil companies are gunning for a U.S. port because Canadian citizens have refused to let more tar sands oil pipelines endanger their communities. Here is why Americans should not accept what Canadians have already rejected:
- It will provide just 35 permanent jobs. Pipeline backers mislead the public with inflated job numbers. The truth is, according to the State Department, the pipeline will create 35 permanents jobs and 1,950 construction jobs for two years. We can create more—and less dangerous—jobs by investing in clean energy.
- It threatens the American breadbasket. Keystone would run within a mile of more than 3,000 drinking and irrigation wells in three states. Major blowouts in Michigan and Arkansas confirmed that tar sands oil is harder to clean out of water, backyards, and neighborhoods than conventional crude.
- Tar sands extraction devastates the environment. The process entails clear cutting, strip mining, and generating enormous amounts of waste. Toxins sit in open lagoons that leak nearly 3 million gallons into the watershed every day, contributing to elevated cancer risk among nearby First Nation villages.
Canadian tar sands oil intensifies climate change. Tar sands oil is the most carbon intensive fuel on the market. All told, the additional carbon pollution from this project would be as much as putting up to 5.7 million additional cars on the road, the State Department’s analysis found.
This pipeline is a stone dead loser for our country, and I welcome President Obama’s decision to veto reckless bills and put climate change considerations at the heart of his final assessment of the project.
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This article originally appeared at this link( http://ecowatch.com/2015/01/13/kxl-wrong-choice/utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=ec8bcbf6db-Top_News_1_15_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-ec8bcbf6db-85925021 ) all credit goes to the original author.
Nebraska landowners sue Keystone XL developer
(Reuters) – Seven Nebraska landowners on Friday filed suits against the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, alleging that a state law that cleared the way for the massive project violates the state’s constitution.
The legal action comes a week after the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in support of the pipeline, which aims to take Canadian oil to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast and has become a point of contention between the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress and the Obama administration.
The Nebraskans, who filed suits in York and Holt counties, alleged that TransCanada Corp used the state law to threaten eminent domain against their land this month, according to court filings published online by the Domina Law Group representing the landowners.
The suits call for an injunction against the state law, which would keep TransCanada from building on the land.
“We are committed to getting an answer to the question: is the current Nebraska law constitutional or not under our State structure,” attorney Dave Domina said in a statement.
TransCanada could not be immediately reached for comment, but company spokesman Mark Cooper told Bloomberg that the filing was not a surprise.
“We recognize that some people will continue to oppose this project no matter what process is followed in order to put up roadblocks. We accept that,” Cooper told Bloomberg.
The Nebraska Supreme Court said last Friday that it was divided and could not reach a substantive decision on the state law, leaving the legislation in place by default.
Republicans are pushing for the pipeline, a project that they say will create jobs and provide energy security for the United States.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill for the pipeline and the Senate is scheduled to vote on it this month, despite the threat of veto from President Barack Obama, who has questioned how beneficial it will be for the country.
The U.S. State Department told other federal agencies on Friday that it needs to hear their views on the pipeline by Feb. 2 as officials conclude their assessment of the project.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Pravin Char)
This article originally appeared at this link( http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/17/us-usa-keystone-lawsuit-idUSKBN0KQ07W20150117 )all credit goes to the original author.
Louisiana Sinkhole Sacrifice Zone 13 Survivors Lonely, Rattled
Friday, January 30, 2015 9:48
The sinkhole capital of the world Bayou Corne has become a sad and lonely place for the handful of survivors still there. Once a thriving Cajun community with 350 residents, its rattled population has decreased almost daily down to 13 residents.
Signs of a national sacrifice zone in the oil and gas industry-coveted bayou area are all there in south Louisiana’s swampland. The zone is approximately 70 miles west of New Orleans and 50 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. It is in the flood plain of the Atchafalaya Basin and the Mississippi River. It is in the state governed by Bobby Jindal, also know as “Million Dollar Man” for the sum in oil and gas industry campaign funds he’s received.
[Photo: World’s largest sinkhole community, a human rights sacrifice zone left to oil and gas profiteers. Image Credit Julie Dermansky]
As the unprecedented giant chemical hole continues settling in Bayou Corne, most homeowners there in the sacrifice zone also have been settling with Texas Brine, the oil and gas-related company responsible for the disaster that began there in May 2012 with earthquakes and methane gas leaks. Now, houses are vacant, more completely disappearing and the residents are hurting. The dismal scene is that of a non-renewable energy sacrifice zone, unfit for human habitat.
Toleca Donacricha, like over 300 people, loved the “Laissez les bons temps rouler!’ (Let the good times roll) life on Bayou Corne. The only good times still rolling there now are for oil and gas industry folks. Donacricha’s one of only 13 people still living there.
Neighboring Grand Bayou families, who’d thrived for generations in their self-sustainable environment, left years ago for the same reasons: earth tremors and explosive gas erupting from their yards. One of the nation’s most unique cultures where families made their own Cajun music at fried catfish gatherings by moonlight and lanterns 50 years ago now aches from silence and loneliness, except for Big Energy’s machinery and other unwanted intrusions.
“It’s the socialization. It’s the companionship. It’s the support of others. Sometimes it’s just a little too quiet,” Donacricha told WAFB News reporters.
Across Highway 1, another sacrifice zone sign disturbs the peace that had existed, an unusual noise. That unwanted intrusive sound is from some residents moving their houses, taking them and everything owned as they flee. As energy refugees, they are leaving their treasured paradise, that turned into a life-threatening hell, to oil and gas profiteers.
Texas Brine estimates the size of the sinkhole to be 31.8 acres. Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Director, John Boudreaux visited the historic site last week.
“It’s showing signs that the sides probably have some movement and filling in the deeper portion of the sinkhole,” Boudreaux said.
Only five of Texas Brine’s 53 gas vent wells are still picking up gas. The company’s breached storage cavern is filled with sediment. The sinkhole monster has not grown in ten months. That’s all according to a company spokesman. Last month, however, seismic activity there could be seen with the naked eye and prompted an official public statement.
“An increase in Seismic Activity has been observed in past weeks around the Sinkhole,” the official parish bulletin titled Seismic Activity Visible Around Sinkhole read on Jan. 16. “Activity occurred sometime last night that indicates water movement as well as a drop in water level within the contained area of the sinkhole.”
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