Keystone XL —- State Dept. Agrees to Tougher Review

Victory: State Dept. Agrees to Tougher Review of Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline. A controversial proposal for a pipeline to carry a daily load of 1 million barrels of dirty tar sands crude oil straight through America’s heartland ought to be worthy of a rock solid environmental review, don’t you think? Almost 1,000 members thought so, as did thousands of other individuals and groups who were aligned with the No Tar Sands Oil campaign calling for the Obama administration to give a harder look to TransCanada’s proposed Keystone pipeline. At last the Department of State agreed. Last week, the Obama administration took the important step of ordering more environmental review to supplement the current level of flimsy analysis. The Department plans to make a final decision by the end of this year. Because the pipeline will cross the U.S. border with Canada the pipeline review falls under the jurisdiction of the State Department. But during the drafting process and under intense industry pressure, it became clear that State Department officials were not doing a thorough job of it. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Interior, and numerous U.S. Senators and Representatives had all joined in pointing flaws in the assessments. Nebraska is one state with grave concerns. Conservative Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns had called for extra review over fears that pipeline leaks would pollute one of America’s most important natural resources: the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies most Midwest drinking water. Similarly, a group of Midwest ranchers and landowners that could be impacted by a rupture along the pipeline route were in Washington D.C. last week to meet with their Congressional delegations and with the State Department about their concerns. And now today, 25 U.S. Mayors sent a letter expressing their opposition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The decision to extend the review period does not mean the State Department will reject the project. But it does mean that there will be a much tougher look at the impacts of hauling this dirty, expensive corrosive and greenhouse-gas-emitting energy source for 1,800 miles through the U.S. “Getting State to make this decision was definitely an achievement, not only because State originally did not plan to do it but because Big Oil and elected officials aligned with it lobbied against even studying the complex issues involved,” Kenny Bruno, U.S. director of the No Tar Sands Oil Campaign told Now, in the coming months, our job will be to make sure the State Department hears loud and clear why they should make sure TransCanada’s tar sands stay in Canada, once and for all. Please sign the No Tar Sands Campaign petition to reject the Keystone XL pipeline for good. ((24 MAR 2011))












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