Response to Congressman Simpson’s Support for Keystone XL Pipeline

In this morning last week’s email was my weekly newsletter from my US Representative, Mike Simpson:
In it, he explained his support for HR 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, which circumvents the need for a presidential permit, “addresses all other necessary federal permits and limits legal challenges that could serve as further delays to the advancement of the project.”

keystoneYellow: existing pipeline that spilled into Kalamazoo River.

I was moved to respond:

I am concerned about a number of factual misstatements in the Keystone XL Pipeline-HR 3 article in the newsletter I just received. You might want to have whoever drafted the Keystone article do a little more fact checking.

The substance being mined in Alberta has no resemblance to crude oil. It is more properly referred to as “tar sands” because it must be heavily processed before it can even flow in a pipeline. After that dirty, carbon-emitting process that wastes lots of other fossil fuel , what is then seeping through the pipeline is a caustic, water-fouling goo that doesn’t even float like oil. When a pipeline carrying tar oil ruptured in Michigan recently, it badly fouled the Kalamazoo River; so far, that clean-up has cost taxpayers $1 billion.

According to the State Dept., Keystone XL construction would provide 3,900 direct jobs, not 20,000. And if the pipeline were finished, it would provide only 35 US jobs.

Most misleading, however, is the claim that sending this pipe-eating goo across several major watersheds, the largest aquifer in North America and the heart of American farmland would have any effect on US energy independence. This stuff is destined for China. It’s just not worth the risk.

There is no benefit for Idahoans from the Keystone pipeline. It is so disappointing to see my congressman continually trying to undermine our environmental protections while taking campaign money from the very industries most threatening to our health and safety.

The following addendum is from a friend who grew up in Bakersfield, CA. His mother and sister still live there. He visits often and knows whereof he writes:

The Canadians are looking for some idiots to refine it. This is why they won’t refine it:

Click to access 2013GHG.pdf

Ten years ago some Canadian groups were pushing pretty hard to get a nuclear reactor to produce the heat required to separate the tarry shit from the sands. Talk about value for your dollar!

Because tar sands oil is a heavy, low-quality form of crude, it requires extensive “upgrading” to be transformed into fuel. Refining tar sands crude creates far more air pollution in American communities that are already burdened with cancer and poor air quality as a result of oil industry activities. Tar sands oil contains, among other toxic metals, 11 times more sulfur and nickel, six times more nitrogen, and five times more lead than conventional crude oil. Heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons released in tar sands refining have been linked to pre-natal brain damage. Nitrogen oxides, along with volatile organic compounds released in tar sands refining are the principal causes of smog and ground-level ozone. Exposure to nitrogen oxides is a direct cause of asthma, emphysema and other lung diseases. With plans to triple refining and transportation of tar sands by 2015, there is no question that air pollution and health problems in communities from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast will increase. — Sierra Club

Canadian tar sands crude heads to Bay Area refineries
By Matthias Gafni Contra Costa Times
Posted:   06/01/2013 04:00:00 PM PDT
Updated:   06/03/2013 09:01:29 AM PDT

All the crap in the air settles over Bakersfield where it gets stuck after drifting south from the Bay Area. We already have the worst air in the entire US!

“State of the Air”
American Lung Association
Page 13

Click to access ala-sota-2013.pdf