Climate & Energy Blog

Kalamazoo Spill Underscores Dangers of Proposed Tar Sands Oil Pipeline from Canada to Gulf Coast

Posted Jul. 30, 2010 / Posted by: Nick Berning

For Immediate Release

Contact
Alex Moore, amoore@foe.org, 202-222-0733
Scott Baumgartner, sbaumgartner@foe.org, 202-222-0751

Kalamazoo Spill Underscores Dangers of Proposed Tar Sands Oil Pipeline from Canada to Gulf Coast

As Obama administration weighs approval of Keystone XL pipeline, massive oil spill threatens Lake Michigan

Washington, D.C. -- This week, a pipeline carrying oil from Canada into the U.S. ruptured, spilling more than a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. Crews are attempting to prevent the spilled oil from reaching Lake Michigan, where it could cause catastrophic environmental damage.

Before this week’s oil spill, federal officials criticized Enbridge, the Canadian tar sands oil giant that owns the pipeline, for ignoring corrosion that compromised the pipeline’s integrity.

TransCanada, another major Canadian tar sands oil company, is currently seeking Obama administration approval for its proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, which would travel 1,700 miles from Canada to refineries near Houston. The company is also seeking a safety waiver that would allow it to use thinner-than-normal steel and pump oil at a higher-than-normal pressure.

Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth, had the following statement regarding this week’s events:

“This disastrous oil spill in Michigan is yet another wake-up call to the tragic impacts of our oil dependence. Coming on the heels of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, this spill reinforces the need for us to build a clean energy economy, not more pipelines.

“Enbridge and other oil companies like BP have deliberately cut corners on safety without respect for the people or communities they put at risk. President Obama should take a long, hard look at this disaster and deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, the next on Big Oil’s wish list.”

For months, ranchers, environmentalists, and public health advocates have challenged TransCanada’s plans to build another pipeline to carry the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada’s tar sands into the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency recently handed the State Department’s draft analysis of the proposed pipeline’s environmental impacts a failing grade, in part because it failed to address the dangers the pipeline would pose to communities along its path.

The Keystone XL pipeline would cross 71 rivers and streams including the Ogallala Aquifer, putting water supplies and the environment at risk. The Ogallala, which is the nation’s largest aquifer, provides drinking and agricultural water for eight states and supports one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton, and cattle produced in the United States.

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 Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) and our federation of grassroots groups in 77 countries are a force for the sustainable and fair use of the Earth’s resources. We’re progressives who confront economic factors fueling ecological destruction and injustice and who don’t shy from speaking sometimes uncomfortable truths to power. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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