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Posts Tagged ‘dirty oil’

beforenafter1[1]The Keystone XL pipeline is embroiled in controversy from coast to coast. Environmentalists are rallied by its giant carbon footprint, the damage caused by spills, and the destruction of Canada’s boreal forests. Meanwhile, landowners are being forced to give up their property rights and cope with unacceptable safety issues.

More than thirty Texas waterways will be threatened by Keystone XL pipeline spills.  Tar sand is very difficult to clean up, especially in water.  And, Keystone XL is not required to pay the standard eight cents per barrel tax into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which means the cost to clean up any spills along the pipeline could become the tax burden of U.S. Citizens.  When tar sand comes into contact with water it begins to separate, leaving the heaviest, thickest product on the bottom.  Meanwhile, benzene and other airborne toxins are lifted to the surface of the water and evaporate into the atmosphere, directly threatening human life.

Burst pipelineLandowners in Texas have been confronted with having a tar sand pipeline cross their farms and ranches.  Ranchers and farmers have no choice where the pipeline lays down on their property.  The easement around the pipe is fifty feet wide, and there will be a kill zone around and under the pipe due to its temperature, which may exceed 158 degrees F. A running pressure of 1,600 pounds per square inch introduces the possibility of a stream with enough force to cut a person in two should a small rupture in the pipe occur.  But, problems with the pipeline do not stop at inherent danger.  The land owners are given a choice of payment for the easement, which requires them to pay taxes on the land under the pipe or, they can have the easement condemned, which leaves them without the right to use that property.  In truth, the land owners have no option when companies such as Keystone XL decide that a pipeline should cross their property, except to deal with the risks, or leave.

To make matters worse, the tar sands that would flow through the Keystone XL pipeline won’t even be used in the U.S. – they are destined for export to foreign countries.  So, we will incur the risks to our land and water and will suffer the consequences of climate change, but we won’t have any more energy security than we do now.  That’s a bad deal.  The risks associated with the Keystone XL pipeline are unacceptable. Most importantly, these risks are avoidable.  Let President Obama know that you want him reject the Keystone XL pipeline because the risks don’t outweigh the benefits.  The recently released draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) from the U.S. Department of State acknowledged that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would create “numerous” and “substantial” impacts on the environment, but it claims the project is better than the alternatives.  If you disagree, as I do,  send comments on the draft SEIS via email to: [email protected]

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Recently, I learned about a good website that tracks the flow of corporate energy money in Congress. The website is a great tool for someone who is interested in knowing who gets what from who and if you are a Texan you will get to see your state initials in many places in the website. The website ranks Congressmen according to how much money they receive from dirty energy corporations but unlike Texas’ football rankings, these rankings don’t make me proud.
There are six Congressmen and women who rank among the top recipients of dirty energy money. Three of them are from Texas, two of which occupy the top two ranks on the list. The top recipient is John Cornyn, next is (Guess who) Joe Barton, and also on the list, the former Republican Governor candidate , Kay Bailey Hutchison. It would make sense why Texas was one of the loudest states in voicing opposition to the offshore-drilling moratorium and it make sense why a guy like Joe Barton would apologize to BP in front of the whole nation while maintaining a straight face.

There are many key findings in the website and the numbers are staggering. Besides listing the “dirtiest politicians,” Dirty Energy Money lists “Dirtiest Congresses,” and “Big-Spending Companies.” So far, this 111th Congress has only collected about 14 million dollars in contributions from dirty energy companies which are much less than the 22 million contributed to the 110th Congress but 2010 is not over yet.

Dirty Energy Money also compares the funds received by both parties from the different energy industries. It also compares votes on major energy legislation while showing how much money the Yeas received verses the Nay’s.

Visit the website, you will find many revealing facts about the two parties, Congress, companies, and the politicians involved. It is definitely a good resource for you to look at before you cast you vote in November.

By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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