Broad Coalition of Texans Sound Alarm on Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline Threat

Broad Coalition of Texans Sound Alarm on Toxic Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline Threat

Local Officials, Property Rights Activists, Religious Leaders, and Environmentalists Ask State Department to Re-do Faulty Analysis

WHO:  

  • Chase Palmer, Mayor of Gallatin, Texas
  • Neil Carman, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club
  • Debra Medina, Tea Party
  • David Daniel, East Texaslandowner and founder of STOP, Stop the Tar sands Oil Pipeline
  • Amanda Yaira Robinson, Texas Interfaith Power & Light
  • Brandon Arias, Sierra Student Coalition at University of Texas
  • Daniel Lucio, MC

WHAT:

  • Press Event at United States Department of State public hearing on a proposed toxic Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

 WHEN:  

  • 11:30 AM
  • Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WHERE:

  • LBJ Auditorium,University of Texas at Austin, corner of East Dean Keeton Street.
  • Free parking. Click here for a map.

CONTACT: 

  • Neil Carman, 512-288-5772 or 512-663-9594; or,
  • David Daniel, 903-563-3935 cell or 903-629-2250

(Austin)  — A broad coalition of allies will gather this Wednesday in Austin at one of two U.S. Department of State public hearings to sound the alarm about the threat of the proposal to build a pipeline that could transport dangerous tar sands oil across east Texas properties and wetlands.  If this pipeline were allowed to be built, up to 1.7 million gallons of toxic tar sands oil could flow into east Texas drinking water and land before the proposed automatic shutoff valve would trigger in the event of a spill.

Local officials, property owners, the Tea Party, the Sierra Club, religious leaders, and students will ask the U.S. Department of State to re-do a faulty analysis that did not include the heightened threat to water resources with exceptional drought conditions in Texas.  At the hearing, Mayor Gallatin will announce the formation of a ‘361 Commission’ creating local authority to address the threat.

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Union Opposes Keystone XL Pipeline

The Southwest Workers Union recently came out against the Keystone XL pipeline. All Texans, including union workers, will be negatively affected by tar sands oil.

STATEMENT AGAINST KEYSTONE PIPELINE

September 24, 2011

Southwest Workers Union represents nearly 3,000 low-income workers, families and youth in South Texas. We denounce the Keystone XL Pipeline and the transport of dirty tar sands through our communities. The Keystone XL would carry 900,000 barrels of tar sands – a fuel that is even dirtier than conventional oil – so that it can be refined in the already disproportionately impacted community of Port Arthur.

All along its route, the pipeline threatens community health and safety. First Nations downstream from the tar sands extraction sites are suffering high rates of rare cancers, renal failure and lupus. In the lakeside village of Fort Chipewyan, 100 of the town’s 1,200 residents have died from cancer.

Spills and leaks are also business as usual for oil pipelines. TransCanada’s existing Keystone I pipeline leaked 14 times in its first year of operation. Keystone XL threatens to contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the main source of fresh water for the Great Plains.

But the impact isn’t just to local communities. Tar sands production causes more than three times he greenhouse gases of conventional oil, and approval of Keystone XL will accelerate deadly climate change. As a state that has suffered a season of deadly drought and wildfires, we say no to investments that recklessly mess with our climate.

Keystone XL is exactly the wrong kind of energy investment our nation needs to be making now – one that locks us into a dirty form of energy that will negatively impact generations to come. Rather than increasing our energy dependence, the Keystone project will increase our reliance on unsustainable, toxic fuels and further delay investments in truly sustainable technologies.

We urge Texans and President Obama to say no to Keystone XL. This is the time to invest in real, distributed energy solutions that are renewable, clean, and will put people to work in their local communities.

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RSVP for the Texas Public Hearings on Keystone XL

If we want President Obama to stand up to the big oil lobbyists and stop the Keystone XL pipeline, then we need to mobilize our supporters from all across the state to attend one of these hearings in Texas. Please spread the word to your friends and family!

PORT ARTHUR
Monday, September 26th
4:30pm – 10pm
Bob Bowers Civic Center
3401 Cultural Center Drive
Port Arthur, TX, 77642
Click here to RSVP

AUSTIN
Wednesday, September 28th
12pm – 8pm
University of Texas
Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium
2313 Red River Street
Austin, TX, 78705
Click here to RSVP

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Stop the Pipeline Video

The students at the UT-Austin Campus Environmental Center have put together an excellent video that features both our local Texas concerns as well as the global threats to our planet.

Statement About the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

From the UT-Austin Campus Environmental Center:

On September 28, the State Department is holding a hearing to get a feel for people’s opinions on this subject and to see if it is a wise choice for President Obama to approve the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline.

We need to give them a clear message that this is not a wise choice and that the students at the University of Texas do not support this project.

To do this, we need to pass a student government resolution by September 28 articulating our protest to this Tar Sands Oil Project.

We also need everyone who can, to attend the hearing on September 28 and to let the State Department know that they must not approve this project.

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KBMT 12 ABC News Profiles the Keystone XL Debate

The public hearing in Port Arthur is Monday, September 26th.

  • 4:30pm – 10pm
  • Bob Bowers Civic Center
  • 3401 Cultural Center Drive
  • Port Arthur, TX, 77642

Check out this news story from Beaumont’s KBMT 12 ABC News:

Public will have opportunity to speak on Keystone Pipeline

September 22, 2011

Bruce Drury is opposed to the pipeline and admits oil pipelines criss-cross the nation, but said this is not your average pipeline.

The former Lamar University professor believes it will impact the natural resource of groundwater that American’s need.

“The fear is if it gets into aquifers, it goes to the bottom of the aquifers and pollutes the entire aquifers for maybe decades,” Drury said.

Some environmentalists also argue the use of this variety of crude from the sands of Canada will eventually pollute our air.

They said it will lead to the production of three times as many greenhouse gases as conventional crude.

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Is the State Department’s EIS Biased?

There’s a clear conflict of interest at the U.S. State Department. Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager is a lead lobbyist for TransCanada, and it could explain why the U.S. State Department has issued such a flawed Environmental Impact Study.

The EPA has issued two scathing reviews of the State Dept’s EIS, and President Obama must acknowledge that, given this conflict of interest at the State Dept, they simply can’t be trusted to provide an honest and thorough environmental analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline. Regarding possible environmental impacts in Texas, the State Dept’s EIS specifically does not:

  1. Address the record drought in Texas.
  2. Address pipeline safety — specifically the threat of wildfires along the route and how a pipeline fueled fire might affect East Texas.
  3. Address the impact of hazardous tar sands oil spills on drinking water.

To learn more about the conflict of interest at the State Dept, read this story from last week’s Washington Post:

TransCanada pipeline lobbyist works all the angles with former colleagues

By Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson – Washington Post

September 22, 2011

More than two dozen State Department e-mails obtained by the advocacy group Friends of the Earth under a Freedom of Information Act request provide an unusual glimpse into the lobbying for the Keystone permit, which has become a battleground in the national debate overhow to address climate change.

They show how Elliott tried to exploit relationships built in political campaigns, with mixed results. The e-mails are almost all between Elliott and a special assistant to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff. All three knew one another from working on Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Damon Moglen, who directs Friends of the Earth’s climate and energy project, said the e-mails also show a State Department official giving inappropriate “coaching” to TransCanada’s chief executive about how to respond to arguments against the pipeline.

Moglen said that Friends of the Earth would pursue additional documents. He said the documents released were numbered, but some numbers were missing. “There are clearly things that are not here,” he said. He also questioned why Elliott did not register as a lobbyist for a foreign company until Dec. 16, 2010 even though he was approaching State officials about the project more than a year earlier. Cunha said Elliott’s activities did not warrant a formal registration until “the last six weeks of 2010.”

Moglen said the June 28 e-mail exchange suggests department officials gave TransCanada special access to what is supposed to be an impartial process.“That is obviously not an independent, probing environmental review process,” Moglen said in an interview. “It’s, in fact, a closed loop.”

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Rally at the Texas Capitol – Saturday, 9/24

Come out to the Texas State Capitol to help show the President that we do not want the Keystone XL Pipeline!

Tar Sands Rally at the Texas Capitol
Saturday, 9/24
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Click here to RSVP

If the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline is permitted, millions of gallons of the dirtiest oil in the world would be piped across America’s heartland -– endangering drinking water, and the aquifer that irrigates America’s breadbasket. The pipeline cuts straight through the heart of North East Texas and runs down to Galveston and is using eminent domain to steal land from farmers.

Is this a chance you’re willing to take?

Because TransCanada’s pipeline will be going through Canada and the USA, it is up to the State Department to give the approval for the pipeline. President Obama doesn’t have to lobby congress to stop this pipeline, all he’s got to do is say NO.

Ride, walk, bus, and bring a friend to the Capitol on Saturday, September 24th at 5pm. Stand up against corporate greed that puts profits over people and the planet. Tell President Obama to say NO to the Keystone XL!

Musical guests include legendary singer/songwriter/storyteller Bobby Bridger, heavy blues outfit The Black Owl Society and artist/songstress Wendy Hale Davis.

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Texas Faith Leaders Unite Against Tar Sands Pipeline

Environmental stewardship is a moral value, and Texas faith leaders are uniting in opposition against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Before the 9/28 Austin public hearing, Texas Interfaith Power & Light is hosting an interfaith prayer service at 10:30am at the LBJ fountain. Religious leaders of different traditions will frame the day by offering words and readings, prayer and meditation. This interfaith service of prayer and intention will be held just outside the LBJ Library, by the fountain. Please join us and invite others.

In addition, the Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin has issued a bold public statement against the tar sands pipeline:

IEN Official Statement on XL Tar Sands Pipeline
September 20, 2011

Our opposition to this proposal is based on several environmental and moral concerns:

1. We are in agreement with the stated desire of two administrations now within our government (Bush and Obama) to have our nation move away from our “addiction to oil” and to invest in renewable energy sources and better efficiency and conservation practices for important environmental reasons. This proposed oil pipeline is simply another expensive short-term effort by the oil industry to continue to supply America with fossil fuel, thus circumventing the more urgent need to invest in renewable energy infrastructures for the future that are less harmful to our environment than the continued reliance on fossil fuels. We believe it is morally and spiritually unconscionable to continue to burden future generations with our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to global warming. To continue to develop oil pipelines in our country reflects an unwillingness to find the collective will to take the necessary steps to start practicing today prudent stewardship of the earth’s resources for our energy needs.

2. Tar sand bitumen is used primarily to produce a synthetic petroleum and the synthetic crude from bitumen is expensive and complicated to produce. This source of petroleum energy will not be less affordable than other forms of cleaner energy that our nation could invest in without the potential risk of oil line leaks or explosions.

3. The mining of this kind of oil in Canada’s pristine boreal forests is incredibly destructive for habitat, wildlife and human life—and it significantly increases greenhouse gas emissions at a critical time in our effort to combat global warming. In addition, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would run through environmentally-sensitive areas in the U.S., including the Ogallala Aquifer which supplies 30% of the groundwater for American agriculture—as well as about 80% of the drinking water for people who live within the aquifer’s eight state boundary; where a spill over that aquifer would be disastrous. As those in the faith community who believe that the care of the earth is a critical spiritual issue for our time, we oppose this attempt by an oil company to place financial gain and the availability of more fossil fuels ahead of environmental protection.

For these reasons we urge the U. S. State Department and the Obama administration to reject the application from TransCanada to build the XL Pipeline in the United States of America.

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Let’s Embrace a Clean Energy Future

SIGN THE PETITION!

The State Department is currently considering TransCanada’s application for a Presidential Permit to build and operate the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This massive pipeline would be the third and largest dedicated tar sands pipeline running between Canada and the US, and would deliver up to 900,000 barrels a day of this toxic oil from Alberta, Canada to Houston, Texas.

Tell the State Department that we are NOT willing to sacrifice our air, water, and the health of our communities to boost the profits of TransCanada, a foreign company. Stop Keystone XL today!

Click here to sign petition, and let’s tell the Obama administration to embrace a clean energy future.

Thanks for taking action!

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Public Hearings in Texas – Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

PhotobucketRight now, President Obama must decide whether to grant or deny a Presidential permit to foreign oil giant TransCanada for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

If the tar sands pipeline is approved, NASA scientist James Hansen says it will be “game over” for the Earth’s climate. Heavy tar sands oil creates three times more carbon pollution than regular Texas crude. The Keystone XL pipeline would allow the Canadian tar sands industry to expand dramatically, and the resulting pollution would nullify our existing conservation efforts worldwide.

But there’s good news. We can still stop this mistake before it’s too late!

The U.S. State Department is hosting Keystone XL public hearings across the country, and there are two hearings scheduled in Texas. This is our best chance to communicate directly with the Obama Administration and make our voices heard to stop the pipeline, so please spread the word:

PORT ARTHUR
Monday, September 26th
4:30pm – 10pm
Bob Bowers Civic Center
3401 Cultural Center Drive
Port Arthur, TX, 77642
Click here to RSVP

AUSTIN
Wednesday, September 28th
12pm – 8pm
University of Texas
Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium
2313 Red River Street
Austin, TX, 78705
Click here to RSVP

The tar sands pipeline would not only pollute our air but also endanger our Texas water supply. A new report released this week shows that the State Department has ignored the record Texas drought and the effects an oil spill could have on the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer. Help preserve our limited water supplies for drinking and fire protection, not for foreign oil pipelines.

It’s not “game over” yet. We can still save our planet. But it’s critical that you attend one of these public hearings and tell President Obama to stand strong against the big oil lobbyists and to instead embrace a clean energy future.

(cross-posted on Burnt Orange Report)

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