Downstream Community Members to Hold Healing Walk Through Tar Sands Region
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On Saturday, August 14th the Keepers of the Athabasca, a network of First Nation, Metis and settler community members along the Athabasca river will host a ‘healing walk’ through the tar sands. Local First Nation and Metis elders from communities directly affected by tar sands operations are leading the walk and will be joined by other local residents and hundreds of supporters for the 3-4 hour walk along HWY 63 winding through the long road that passes the tar sands operations exposing the dark clouds of emissions and the vast toxic tailing ponds. The walk will be interspersed with speakers and filled with ceremony as local First Nation elders will offer prayers to help heal the earth.
Who: First Nation and Metis elders, spiritual leaders and residents from communities directly affected by tar sands operations, local residents, and allies from Western Canada.
Where: Fort McMurray, Alberta. Starting with a sunrise ceremony at Lion’s Park on Tolen Drive.
When: 8:00 am, Sunrise Ceremony. Walk to begin at 10:00 am with feast to follow.
Why: Because Mother Earth needs our help in the protection and healing of the land and water. Indigenous people are caretakers of the earth and we need to work together for the health and safety for the next generations. Others are welcome to join as we walk through
the tar sands area and give strength and prayer to the earth and the people who have felt the devastation of tar sands development.
For more information please contact:
George Poitras - 780 264 1269
Cleo Reece - 780 381 8799
♦ Camp for Climate Action
The Indigenous Environmental Network sending two delegates to the UK Climate Camp for Action 2010, titled “Break the bank”. Climate Camp 2009 was a catalyst event IEN participated in last year, which resulted in a massive surge of anti tar sands work in the UK led by
Indigenous front line communities.
At this year’s climate camp our delegates will be:
Jasmine Thomas is a member of the frog clan from Saik’uz, which is a part of the Carrier Nation. She has inherited the ancient practice of traditional medicines from her late great-grandmother, Sophie Thomas. She is completing her Environmental Planning degree at the University of Northern British Columbia. She also participated in the Bolivia Climate Convergence that took place in Cochabamba to speak on issues related to the destructive tar sand developments and the Enbridge Pipeline Project that proposes to cross her traditional territories. Jasmine believes that the most power lies at the grassroots level and advocates on behalf of the Defenders of the Land and fully supports the efforts on behalf of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Riannon Ball is a member of the crow clan from the Tahltan Nation. She inherited her Tahltan name Cowunshowit from her Grandma, which means “the time when the leaves turn yellow”. She recently graduated from UNBC with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Geomorphology. Riannon has grown up in the Stikine Headwaters and this has shaped and influenced her career and academic goals and she is currently preparing to write the LSAT to pursue Environmental Law. She has been involved with the Defenders of the Land initiatives, as well as committing to her nation’s Tahltan Land Stewardship Committee.
Both of these women have been a part of IEN initiatives and are prepared to go to Scotland, UK to work with our UK based allies Platform Climate Camp for Action, Rising Tide UK and our own IEN funded UK Tar Sands Network.
Click Image to Watch Video or go to Climate Camp 2010
The camp this year will target the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is a major global investor in tar sands development. IEN and our UK based allies will use this camp to highlight the role of Royal Bank of Scotland in financing the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline, a massive 800 000 barrel per day project that will (if built) bring Canadian tar sands crude across northern BC to the Pacific. This pipeline will cross 1200 salmon producing streams and tributaries affect over 30 tribal territories and allow for massive expansion of operations and their impacts on Alberta based First Nations. So far the RBS has given 2.5 billion in loans to tar sands companies. RBS underwrote a $166.67M bond for Enbridge that closed on 12/17/2008. RBS charged a .55% fee for the transaction, so they made $916,685 in fees from this deal. Both Enbridge and RBS are a priority target in the IEN tar sands campaign.
♦ Nebraska pipeline opponents applaud EPA stance
By ART HOVEY / Lincoln Journal Star
All eyes were on video screens at Nebraska Educational Television in Lincoln on Wednesday night, but thoughts were obviously divided between what was happening there and the news from Kansas City in the morning.
On the same day Nebraska groups hosted an Interactive Pipeline Summit to call attention to concerns about the proposed Keystone XL petroleum pipeline, word was spreading that the federal government's environmental watchdog has concerns as well.
The Environmental Protection Agency is recommending TransCanada, developers of a pipeline headed through Nebraska from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, provide better answers for a draft environmental impact statement being prepared by the U.S. State Department.
The EPA also wants another round of public comment on a project that is scheduled to go through the Nebraska Sandhills and over the Ogallala Aquifer, source of drinking water for 85 percent of the state's population.
"It looks like the EPA is asking the same questions we've been asking and reading the environmental impact statement the same way we were," said Duane Hovorka of Elmwood, executive director of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation and part of panel put together for the summit.
Ken Winston, lobbyist for the Nebraska chapter of the Sierra Club, agreed. "I think the fact that the EPA has rated the environmental impact statement as inadequate is consistent with the views of most environmentalists," Winston said prior to appearing before a studio
audience of about 40.
TransCanada already has oil flowing in the Keystone pipeline, which passes underground through the Lincoln area west of Seward.
Keystone XL, slightly larger at 36 inches in diameter, is scheduled to come through west of York.
TransCanada wants to start construction in Nebraska on the second pipe next year and to join it with the Keystone along the Nebraska-Kansas border for the trip to refineries at Cushing, Okla.
The two pipes would split again at Cushing and Keystone XL is supposed to go on to the Gulf Coast.
Terry Cunha, a TransCanada spokesman based in Alberta, didn't want to address Sandhills and Ogallala matters specifically when sought out earlier Wednesday.
"I couldn't speculate as to why the public's opinion has changed over the years," Cunha said. "I think you could look at what's happened recently with the spill along the Gulf Coast."
Cunha said TransCanada sees no reason to alter its construction timetable so far, despite the EPA's reservations.
"We are waiting for the Department of State to come to a decision sometime this year," he said.
The State Department is the lead agency on the project because it crosses an international border.
Also involved in the Wednesday summit were Paul Blackburn of Plains Justice in Vermillion, S.D.; Marty Cobenais of the Indigenous Environmental Network in Bemidji, Minn.; Jane Kleeb of Hastings and Bold Nebraska; and Ernie Fellows of Mills and Nebraska Landowners for Fairness.
Cobenais said the closer proximity to the Ogallala goes a long way to explaining why Keystone XL is generating more opposition than Keystone.
"They're going through the aquifer this time," he said. "Water talks."
Hovorka puts more emphasis on George W. Bush stepping down as president and Barack Obama
stepping up. "I think the message there is that elections matter," he said.
Watch the TransCanada webcast at IEN's YouTube Channel
And then sign the petition at the link below
Marty Cobenais IEN Pipeline Campaigner is one of the speakers.
Other Speakers Include:
- Paul Blackburn, Plains Justice
- Duane Hovorka, Nebraska Wildlife Federation
- Ernie Fellows, Nebraska Landowners for Fairness
- Ken Winston, Nebraska Sierra Club
- Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska
Lots more information about pipeline leaks - Enbridge and more in this newslette
National Wildlife report on overview and dangers of pipeline: View PDF
Plains Justice report on expense of pipeline: View PDF
Questions raised about potential increase in rates of cancer linked to tarsands: View Article
CLICK HERE to sign the Nebraska petition opposing the summit.
CLICK HERE to read more about the pipeline and the dangers it will bring to our state's water, land and economic activity.
♦ Keepers of the Water IV Conference: August 19-23, 2010
The Sacred Gift of Water
The Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation of Wollaston Lake, SK is proud to host this year's annual Keepers of the Water conference, in conjunction with the Keepers of the Water Saskatchewan.
This watershed gathering builds on the grassroots declaration, resolutions and rough watershed plan, which began in Liidlii Kue, Denendeh (Fort Simpson, NWT) in September 2006, and continued in Fort St. John, BC in the fall of 2007 and Fort Chipewyan, AB in 2008. In 2010, we move to Hatchet Lake, adjacent to the Northern Hamlet of Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan.
There are over 100,000 bodies of water in northern Saskatchewan. The people and communities in this region have a strong relationship and inherent interest in protecting the water sources that sustain their lives. This year we focus on establishing a united voice to address the cumulative environmental issues of our respective basins. Our goal for this gathering is determining viable solutions by identifying concrete and tangible water management actions.
All levels of Canadian government, involved industries, First Nations and Metis peoples, ENGOs, NGOs, doctors, scientists, academics, stewardship councils, community members and concerned citizens of every age and walk of life are cordially invited to work on a democratic, all-stakeholders' grassroots watershed plan for one of the largest freshwater basins in the world. Now is the time to take action.
We call on you to join us on these courageous and vital next steps. Create a unified watershed action plan and a clear plan for its follow-up. Be informed. Be involved. Be heard. Be part of an unforgettable historic, democratic plan to secure responsible stewardship of our life-giving waters.
More Info http://www.keepersofthewater.ca/gatherings/2010
Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council
Clarence Alexander has been honored as the recipient of the 2004 Ecotrust Award for Indigenous Leadership for his many years of work advocating for environmental justice, tribal rights and protection of the Yukon River Watershed. He is a respected leader with indigenous values, strong coalition building skills and extraordinary vision.
"Clarence Alexander has defended his traditional subsistence economy of abundance from the threats of globalization. The leadership he embodies is the demonstrable strength of Indigenous knowledge, cultural values and vision honed through thousands of years of knowing the land and its systems intimately," said Spencer B. Beebe, President of Ecotrust. "Clarence represents the best of effective tactical genius and collaborative governance while bettering community health, keeping intact native food systems, restoring the purity of water through clean up of human and military wastes, recycling, and international resistance to oil development."
Mr. Alexander is co-founder of the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments and the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council. He is chairman of the Gwichyaa Zhee Corporation and a former Grand Chief of the Gwich'n peoples. Mr. Alexander worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for twenty years, and he has recently completed working on the Gwich'n Athabascan-English dictionary. Mr. Alexander lives in Fort Yukon, Alaska on the banks of the Yukon River.
Clarence Alexander will present his keynote address at 7:30pm, Thursday, August 19.
Dr. Manuel Pino
American Indian Studies, Scottsdale Community College
Manuel Pino is a professor of sociology and Director of American Indian Studies at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Arizona. Manuel Pino is from Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. With a research orientation in environmental issues and their impact on American Indians, Manuel has worked in the area of American Indians and the environment for the past twenty-six years and is currently working with former American Indian uranium miners in New Mexico, Arizona, Washington and South Dakota on health issues related to radiation exposure.
Dr. Pino has spoken at many international conferences, including the 1992 World Uranium Hearing in Salzburg, about victims of uranium mining, depleted uranium, and associated cancer deaths. He has served as a delegate of Indigenous Peoples at the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa and the 2002 United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2008, he received the Nuclear-Free Future Award. Dr. Pino is currently part of a research team from Brazil and the U.S. working on the impact of suicide among Indigenous Peoples in both countries.
Manuel Pino will deliver his keynote address at 9am, Sunday, August 22.
♦ Join Dr. James Hanson and Clayton Thomas-Mueller for:
♦ Help Support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Get involved with a click!
Send an e-letter to the White House supporting the U.S. endorsement of the UN DECLARATION on the RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES!
The United States is currently reviewing its position on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Federal officials are taking comments on the Declaration through October, 2010. Now is the time to speak out and to urge the White House to endorse the UN Declaration.
Send an e-letter to President Obama
INDIAN LEADERS and NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS:
The Indian Law Resource Center has draft letters and suggested language to use in your letters to the U.S. Department of State.
Click here to see draft letters for Indian and Alaska Native leaders
Click here to see draft letters for Non-governmental Organizations
Kimberly Teehee of the White House Domestic Policy Council responds to questions during discussions on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
♦ Momentum Builds in Congress to Overhaul U.S. Chemicals Policy
Bill Proposes to Reduce Toxic Chemical Exposure and Ensure Safety
Members of the Healthy Legacy coalition applaud Congressmen Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) for introducing a groundbreaking bill to overhaul U.S. chemicals policy in the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The "Toxic Chemicals Safety Act
of 2010" is intended to overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which has failed to regulate chemicals in consumer products–even those that have known links to cancer, learning disabilities, asthma, reproductive disorders, and other serious health
"This groundbreaking legislation would vastly improve the way chemicals are regulated in the U.S., giving EPA the authority to protect public health from the relentless onslaught of chemical exposures," said Kathleen Schuler, Healthy Legacy Co-Director. "The bill also provides for access to chemical safety data for American manufacturers and retailers that are trying to make safer products.”
The House legislation would significantly strengthen public health protections from toxic chemicals. For the first time, the chemical industry would be required to demonstrate that chemicals are safe, rather than the EPA having to prove they are unsafe. In a major shift,
the legislation would require chemical manufacturers to provide basic health and safety information for all chemicals as a condition for them remaining on or entering the market and to make that information public.
Other elements of the legislation would require:
- Chemicals to meet a health standard to enter or remain on the market.
- EPA to identify and restrict the most toxic chemicals that build up in our food chain and in our bodies, such as brominated flame retardants.
- Populations most vulnerable to toxic chemicals, including pregnant women, infants and children, and those living in environmental 'hot spots,' to have extra protections from toxic chemicals.
- EPA to rely on the National Academy of Sciences’ recommendations to incorporate the best and latest science when determining the safety of chemicals.
Today’s bill, introduced in the House, follows a similar bill introduced in the Senate in April by Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) called the "Safe Chemicals Act of 2010." For the past three months Congressmen Rush and Waxman have been meeting with key stakeholders including industry representatives, health and environmental advocates and the EPA to come up with a balanced bill.
Just this year the President's Cancer Panel reported that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated. The Panel calls on our country’s leaders to reform our broken federal policy that has allowed cancer causing chemicals into our schools, homes and workplaces,” said Barbra Wiener, Co-Chair of Women’s Cancer Action.
“People have been led to believe that chemicals are proven safe before added to products we use every day, but the law doesn’t offer that protection,” said Andy Igrejas, Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of 250 environmental and public health groups. “Today’s legislation gives EPA both the authority and a mandate to begin making up for 34 years of neglect. Congress should seize this opportunity immediately.”
Healthy Legacy is a diverse state coalition of 33 groups representing health affected people, faith-based and environmental justice groups, health professionals, labor, parents and others, dedicated to “safe products, made safely.” www.healthylegacy.org.
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families is a broad coalition of groups, including major environmental organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund, health organizations like the Learning Disabilities Association, Breast Cancer Fund, and the Autism Society, health professionals and providers like the American Nurses Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Mt. Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center, and concerned parents groups like the 1 million-member MomsRising. For more information visit our website at www.saferchemicals.org.
For More Information:
♦ Assault on America: A Decade of Petroleum Company Disaster, Pollution, and Profit
New report shows how today’s oil and gas industry threatens Americans in countless ways.
Tim Warman, Jack Doyle and Miguel Mejia
The BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, with its tragic loss of life and devastating impact on the Gulf Coast economy, has brought the risk and high cost of oil development to the public’s attention. Predictably a round of oil industry executives have testified before Congress offering countless apologies and empty assurances that such an incident will never happen again. But this is the fourth major oil spill in 33 years on North America.
Download the full report: Assault on America (pdf)
Major oil spills are really only a small part of the real story. From 2000 to 2010, the oil and gas industry accounted for hundreds of deaths, explosions, fires, seeps, and spills as well as habitat and wildlife destruction in the United States. These disasters demonstrate a pattern of feeding the addiction to oil leaving in their wake sacrifice zones that affect communities, local economies, and our landscapes.
The BP Deepwater Horizon event is the largest and potentially most devastating environmental disaster the oil and gas industry has yet to foist on Americans. However, the frequency and recurrence of these events bears closer scrutiny. Incidents occur on a monthly and,
sometimes, daily basis across the country but sadly only a portion of these make the front page or evening news.
This report provides a sampling of the oil and gas industry’s performance over the past 10 years —– the first decade of the new millennium. These ‘lowlights’ and examples from each year shed light on how the oil and gas industry has continued to show negligence and experience accidents all over the country. While not exhaustive, the listing offers a cross-section of spills, leaks, fires, explosions, toxic emissions, water pollution, and more that have not occurred in the last decade —– the post- Exxon Valdez era, the post- Oil Pollution Act of 1990 era, when the industry said “we’ve got it under control.”
This was supposed to be the era of “never again,” the refrain often heard following a major tanker spill, refinery explosion, or pipeline leak. We were told that spill prevention plans, better safety procedures, and improved technology, would help eliminate spills, fires, explosions, leaks and seeps. Yes, this was supposed to be the era of no more leaky river barges, no more oil refinery smog, no more worker deaths and injuries, no more well blow-outs, and no more underground tank farm plumes or gas station oil seepage into groundwater or beneath neighboring communities. Yet we have had all of that and more in the last decade. Read the rest of the introduction....
♦ Find More News, Information, and videos...
The IEN website is packed with a lot of information we can't fit in our newsetters. Don't forget to log on and read!
Click here to go to our site.
♦ Enbridge pipelines under scrutiny
In wake of Michigan oil spill, Enbridge pipelines under scrutiny
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
“We had the opportunity to strengthen the pipeline laws 10 years ago, and the Senate failed to act,’’ Oberstar said. “We are now once again in the position to rewrite the law on pipeline safety. We’re going to get it out of Committee and move it through the House. … Whether it can get past Republicans in the Senate, we shall see.’’
On a sunny day last September, U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar stood at a podium in a Carlton County gravel pit and celebrated the start of construction on Enbridge Energy’s latest oil pipeline
across Minnesota. Nearly one year later, Oberstar has launched an investigation into Enbridge pipeline safety.
Oberstar, D-Chisholm, praised Enbridge for creating jobs with the $1.2 billion Alberta Clipper project, one of Minnesota’s largest private construction projects, and for filling U.S. demand for oil with crude from friendly Canada as opposed to the Middle East. In addition, Oberstar praised Enbridge’s safety efforts, saying the new pipeline would be among the safest ever built.
Nearly one year later, Oberstar has launched an investigation into Enbridge pipeline safety.
The effort comes after a major spill last month near Marshall, Mich., where 819,000 gallons spewed from an Enbridge pipe and flowed into the Kalamazoo River.
Read the full article...
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♦ Don't be fooled --- Pipeline company recinds risky propsal for now...
Pipeline company rescinds risky proposal…for now.
Full Post Here
Amid two massive oil spills, public pressure was apparently high enough to force TransCanada
to back down from its permit request to pump the world’s most toxic crude at over-zealous
pressures. In doing so, the company made a telling statement about the risks their pipelines pose, acknowledging their proposal was unsafe from the start.
But they made sure to allow for a “request for a special permit in the future”. TransCanada
is making a smart PR move, because pumping at lower pressures still allows the company to
meet its prospective deliveries, while making them appear sensitive to safety concerns.
They stood by their commitment to use thinner-than-standard steel, a move that will expose American communities and vital aquifers to increased risk, but will save the company close to a billion dollars. No sign of shying from that proposal- actually building an up-to-par pipe would provide the minimum safeguards against another disaster, but a fraction of their profits are on the line!
The Enbridge pipeline disaster in Michigan spill is the latest of more than 2,500 significant pipeline incidents that have occurred in the United States over the last ten
years, resulting in 161 fatalities and 576 injuries. There are no safe pipelines, and
TransCanada knows it.
This thinly veiled publicity stunt is yet another attempt by big oil companies to dupe the
American people into believing their practices are safe. We have been reassured time and
again by companies like BP and Enbridge, only to see the all-too-real consequences of their
negligence in the form of devastating toxic spills.
We cannot allow another oil company to placate us again with a bait-and-switch ploy at appearing ‘safer’, while simultaneously forging ahead with risky practices that protect nothing but their profits.
TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline is a risky project that will undermine well-paying, green jobs at home, and expose 27% of America’s irrigated farmland to oil contamination.
We cannot afford another pipeline disaster, and we don't need a multi-billion dollar project that directly undermines America's clean energy future. We must stand up and tell the State Department that another risky pipeline carrying the world’s dirtiest crude will never be in the national interest.
♦ State records show many Minnesota pipeline ruptures
As the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee awaits federal data on Enbridge pipeline spills, the News Tribune has obtained records from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that show dozens of oil spills in northern Minnesota over the past 30 years, dating back to when the company was Duluth-based Lakehead Pipeline.
The company, now based in Texas and a subsidiary of a Canadian firm, operates a system of pipelines that bring oil from Canada into northwestern Minnesota, then across the state along U.S. Highway 2 and into Superior, where the crude continues on to Chicago and points east, including Michigan.
The News Tribune found that over the past 30 years, nearly 1.5 million gallons of oil have spilled out of the Enbridge/Lakehead pipes in northern Minnesota — much of it into wetlands and some of it close to the Mississippi River.
Among the most serious issues along the company’s pipelines:
# On Nov. 28, 2007, near Clearbrook, two Superior men died when an Enbridge pipeline exploded, spilling 15,000 gallons of crude oil as well. Enbridge was later fined $2.4 million and ordered to reduce pressure in the pipe.
# On July 4, 2002, near Cohasset and along the Mississippi River, more than 250,000 gallons of crude oil spilled out of Enbridge’s pipeline.
# On March 3, 1991, as Lakehead Pipeline, 630,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from a ruptured pipe near Grand Rapids.
# On Aug. 4, 1996, 420,000 gallons of unspecified petroleum product spilled from a Lakehead pipe near Donaldson.
# On Sept. 16, 1998, 147,000 gallons of unspecified petroleum spilled from a Lakehead pipe near Plummer, forcing a temporary evacuation of the town.
# On July 22, 2000, 20,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a Lakehead pipe near Leonard.
# Enbridge spills have occurred as recently as June 9, 2009, when five gallons of crude spilled near Floodwood, and March 13, 2009, when 50 gallons of crude spilled near Clearbrook.
# On Jan. 4, 2009, state officials announced that Enbridge would pay
$1.1 million in fines for more than 100 environmental law violations across 14 counties as the company built the 321-mile Wisconsin portion of the Alberta Clipper project from Superior to near Milwaukee in 2007 and 2008.
# On Jan. 1, 2007, 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from an Enbridge pipeline during construction of a new pipeline in Clark County.
# On Feb. 2, 2007, 126,000 gallons of oil spilled from an Enbridge pipeline ruptured by workers during construction of a new parallel pipeline in Rusk County.
# On Jan. 24, 2003, more than 100,000 gallons spilled from an Enbridge pipeline in Superior. Most was recovered on site, but about 19,000 gallons spilled onto the ice near the Nemadji River.
Read the rest of the article:
♦ The Kalamazoo River 'mess' is a lot more than that
If the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico is causing us to reconsider deep-sea drilling, then last week's oil disaster in Michigan should give us pause about constructing new oil
pipelines. And taken together, the spills spotlight what's wrong with our nation's energy
Patrick D. Daniel, chief executive of Enbridge Inc., apologized last week for "the mess we made." He was referring to the pipeline rupture that dumped about a million gallons of crude oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River. Though we're sure that Daniel genuinely regrets that it was his company's turn to advertise the obvious dangers of continuing our nation's dependence on oil, this time, sorry's not good enough.
The immediate consequences of this particular "mess" are bad enough. Thirty miles of the
Kalamazoo River were fouled. Birds, fish and other wildlife were killed or oiled. People had to be evacuated from their homes because of high levels of benzene in the air. When the heavy crude passed through the city of Battle Creek, the Kellogg Co. even had to stop making Corn Flakes.
The Kalamazoo empties directly into Lake Michigan. If oil had reached that lake, it would have been, in the words of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, "a tragedy of historic proportions." Although the Kalamazoo has come a long way from the days when it was the site for paper mills that dumped chemical waste directly into the river, a stretch of the river is still a Superfund site, and scientists warn that the spilled oil could release pollutants buried in the river's sediment, unleashing even more toxins.
That's more than a "mess." On top of that, this disaster might have been avoided had Enbridge been more responsible. Federal regulators warned Enbridge in January about corrosion in the pipeline, and the company had a history of citations. Needless to say,
Daniel's apology didn't include taking responsibility for that negligence. But what we really can't afford to overlook is that the disaster in Michigan is only the most recent example of a threat that too many Americans don't even know about. The pipe that
burst is part of one of the largest pipeline systems in the world. These are the pipes that bring tar-sands oil from Canada to refineries throughout the industrial cities of the Midwest.
To get tar-sands oil, you first clear-cut ancient boreal forest. Then you expend jaw-dropping quantities of energy and water to grind up the earth and extract tiny bits of
crude. The process leaves behind toxic lakes so big they can be seen from space. Read more....
The Salt Lake Tribune
Aug 7, 2010
With little advance notice, a plan to extract Utah’s tar sands was presented last week at a hearing of Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, which can rule on the plan in a month
(“Groups challenge plans for Utah tar sands mine,” Tribune, July 27).
The Canadian company Earth Energy Resources already has permits for aquifer water and Utah’s school trust lands. No federal compliance is required for this project to go forward, and DOGM must judge only the mining features. Not even the absence of roads sufficient for trucks need be considered.
However, there are serious concerns about impacts on the aquifer and the Colorado River, the lifeline of the Southwest.
A larger concern is that increased greenhouse gases will be emitted during the oil’s extraction and consumption.
Because the greenhouse gases cause our Earth to warm, we should set a new course to get our energy from renewable, toxic-free sources, such as sunlight and wind.
The more we invest in oil, the less we have to invest in solar energy. More greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion means less snow on the Colorado River headlands. Utah should commit now to a future-minded energy plan.
Salt Lake City