“Landowners’ worst fears came true,” Jane Kleeb, the head of Bold Nebraska, told DeSmog after news broke about the latest Keystone pipeline oil spill. “When you have a pipe running through your farm or ranch-land all you think about is: it could break today.”
After years of political jostling, environmental groups celebrated President Obama’s Nov. 6, 2015, rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” he said.
As he spoke, another pipeline known as the Alberta Clipper was already transporting some 800,000 barrels per day (BPD) of tar sands crude—the same type and essentially the same volume of oil as the proposed Keystone—to U.S. refineries.
TransCanada Corporation, the company behind the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, is furtively planning its next steps—including suing the U.S. government—if U.S. President Barack Obama rejects the permits which would allow construction of the project to move forward, the Canadian Pressreported on Monday.
Some bushes and flowers started to bloom near the end of January this year, and in the spring cherry blossoms were blooming weeks early. This capped a winter with extremely low snowfall in the Cascade Mountains. The abnormal heat, combined with the drought now covering 80% of Oregon, has actually raised temperatures in the Willamette River above 70 degrees, recently killing chinook salmon as they made their way up-stream to spawn.
DeSmogBlog has obtained dozens of emails that lend an inside view of how the U.S. State Department secretly handed Enbridge a permit to expand the capacity of its U.S.-Canada border-crossing Alberta Clipper pipeline, which carries tar sands diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) from Alberta to midwest markets.
Carl Weimer, director of Bellingham-based nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust, thinks that the intense focus on Keystone has taken the wind out of conversations around safety issues at the 2.5 million miles of already-existing pipelines as well as for the new ones being proposed. “In the past, pipeline safety has been pretty bipartisan,” Weimer says. But Keystone has polarized the discussion. “Either you’re for oil or against it,” he added.
With the first crash and explosion of a unit train of tar sands oil in Canada in February, we learned that the conventional wisdom among people covering the oil-by-rail industry regarding the flammability of tar sands oil has been dead wrong.