Archive for August 23rd, 2011

Tar Sands Pipeline: Tough Call! – Jobs or Oil Spills on U.S. Soil

posted by Jael Ever @ 12:03 PM
August 23, 2011

 In spite of protests from both sides of the border, both the United States and Canadian Governments may be moving ahead with plans to build a tar sands oil pipeline capable of moving 830,000 barrels a day of oil from tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico.  Even as this blog goes to press, demonstrators are in the midst of a two-week protest against the pipeline in front of the White House.  And already hundreds of arrest have been made.  At a cost of $ 7 billion, TransCanada Corp, would send the 1,702-mile pipeline, called Keystone XL, through several states––i.e. Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisana.  However, the project would bring potential threats to aquifers, other water sources, farm lands, etc.

 The U.S. State Department issued a first draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project a year ago, with a final draft expected by September.  But the Environmental Protection Agency early rendered objections to the EIS, calling the State Department’s review superficial and lacking in scientific analysis.  Moreover, because of the crucially important Ogallala Aquifer in his state, Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns, has already asked the State Department to reroute the pipeline further eastward.  In addition 20 top research scientists have written to President Obama urging him not to approve the project because of its threats to the environment.

 According to Dr. James Hansen, well-published NASA climatologist writing for, “The  environmental impacts of tar sands development include: irreversible effects on biodiversity and the natural environment, reduced water quality, destruction of fragile pristine Boreal Forest and associated wetlands, aquatic and watershed mismanagement, habitat fragmentation, habitat loss, disruption to life cycles of endemic wildlife — particularly bird and caribou migration — fish deformities and negative impacts on the human health in downstream communities.”
 While TransCanada has not had a very good record on preventing oil spills, both Canadian and TransCanada officials promise to increase monitoring pollution from the sands throughout the pipeline’s length.  Protestors loudly decry these promises, equating them to British Petroleum’s promises before the recent Gulf of Mexico spills.  However, the quandary for Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama is that the pipeline would bring thousands of badly needed jobs to this country.  Christians must pray that God will give these leaders wisdom for the blessing of everyone.  In Christian prayer books, Apostle Paul tells believers, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Timothy 2: 1-2).

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