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Tar Sands May be Coming to Texas

The U.S. Department of State will be hosting public hearings this week, May 17-20th in Beaumont, Liberty, Livingston, and Tyler on the proposed tar sands pipeline. Canadian oil and gas giant TransCanada needs U.S. Department of State approval in order to expand the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The public hearings are key opportunities for local residents to make their voices heard and communicate their concerns about the project directly to State Department officials.

If approved the pipeline would transport 900,000 barrels a day to Texas refineries. Producing liquid fuels from tar sands requires significant energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates 3.2 to 4.5 times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil. Refining such dirty oil will increase air pollution and further jeopardize the health of Texans.

Rosalia Guerrero, Community Liaison for Air Alliance Houston, had the following statement regarding the pipeline, “When it comes to air pollution, Houston has enough problems.  The Houston-Galveston Region, which consists of 8 contiguous counties, has never been able to meet attainment for ozone under the federal Clean Air Act.  The Houston area is home to one of the largest petrochemical complexes in the world.  The proposed Keystone Pipeline Project would be delivering a very heavy crude oil to these same refineries for processing, producing higher levels of pollutants leading to more smog, haze and ozone. The communities that reside around these refineries cannot be asked to bear this burden. We are totally against this project.”

This pipeline threatens our country’s burgeoning clean energy economy and represents an escalation to our highly destructive and damaging addiction to fossil fuels. Building this one pipeline would result in approximately 38 million metric tons of additional greenhouse gas emissions per year, the equivalent of adding over six million cars to the road!

 “Citizens should be alarmed,” said Mona Avalos, tar sands researcher with Public Citizen. “The import of tar sands oil could be the next Gulf Coast disaster. We could see irreversible destruction to our forests, rivers and lakes. Citizens should attend the hearings and voice their opposition to the expansion of the pipeline.”

Public Citizen is encouraging interested agencies, organizations and members of the public to attend the hearings. All hearings are open to the public and will take place from 7-9pm:

Monday – May 17, 2010 – 7 to 9 pm
Beaumont, TX
American Legion Hall #817
3430 W. Cardinal Drive

Tuesday – May 18, 2010 – 7 to 9 pm
Liberty, TX
VFW Hall
1520 N Main St.

Wednesday – May 19, 2010 - 7 to 9 pm
Livingston, TX
Livingston Junior High School
1801 Highway 59 Loop N.

Thursday – May 20, 2010 - 7 to 9 pm
Tyler, TX
Ramada Hotel and Conference Center
3310 Troup Highway SE Loop 323 & Hwy 110 N

There will be luncheon meetings every day at noon prior to the public meetings in the listed communities to organize and inform concerned citizens. To arrange an interview or an editorial board visit, or to find out more about the organizational meetings please contact Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen of Texas (512) 477-1155.

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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.