Mr. Obama’’s Easy Call on Keystone Bill

The New York Times Editorial Board

Congress has delivered to President Obama a bill commanding him to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, accompanied by a warning from House Speaker John Boehner to ignore the “”left-fringe extremists and anarchists”” who oppose the project.

It was not immediately clear whom Mr. Boehner had in mind, unless he meant the 90 scientists, economists and Nobel laureates who appealed this week to Mr. Obama to reject the pipeline on the grounds that the United States should not be complicit in unlocking some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet. In any case, Mr. Obama should ignore the speaker and, as he has promised, veto the bill. Because the pipeline would cross an international border, the decision about whether to proceed is his to make, not Congress’s, and the State Department review that will help guide that decision is not yet complete.

The veto is the easy call. The tougher one–for the president and his secretary of state, John Kerry–is whether eventually to say yes or no to the pipeline, which would carry about 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta’’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. In the great scheme of things, this would not be a big addition to a global oil output that now exceeds 90 million barrels a day. And the oil would come from a reliable friend, Canada. Building the pipeline would also provide about 3,900 temporary construction jobs over two years, but no more than 50 permanent jobs thereafter.

At the same time, both Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have declared, without reservation, that climate change is a grave and increasingly tangible threat to world stability. The Canadian tar sands oil can only add to that threat.

One reason is that tar sands oil yields roughly 17 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional crude oil. A bigger reason is that there is so much of it–170 billion barrels recoverable with today’’s technology and maybe 10 times that amount in potential resources. Mainstream climate scientists are virtually unanimous in saying that as much as two-thirds of the world’’s deposits of fossil fuels must remain in the ground if climate disaster is to be avoided. Alberta’’s tar sands oil should be among the first such deposits we decide to leave alone.

Saying no to the pipeline will not prevent the Canadians (and American oil companies that have invested in Alberta) from extracting the oil. But it could make the job much harder. The industry hopes to expand daily production to about five million barrels in 2030 from the current 1.9 million. Doing this profitably will require robust oil prices and access to pipelines, which are a much cheaper way of moving oil than rail. And with oil prices falling fast, pipelines become even more necessary.

Not building a pipeline means that more oil — and more carbon dioxide — will be left in the ground. That is the main reason to say no. Another is that, at least right now, this country does not need the oil. Improved technology, chiefly hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has opened up vast new deposits of not only natural gas but crude oil; in January 2014, Mr. Obama was able to announce that for the first time in decades the United States was producing more oil than it imported, and the Energy Information Administration has forecast that reliance on overseas oil will continue to fall.

The stars seem very much in alignment for a courageous presidential decision that would command worldwide attention and reinforce America’’s leadership role in the battle against global warming.

When Mother Earth Has Nothing Left To Give, We Must Slow Down

When Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project review began in April 2014, it was on a fast track to approval. The 2012 changes to the National Energy Board Act established a truncated process that would have seen a decision on this massive project by fall 2015.

However, the project has since hit multiple snags, including a delay in any approval until spring 2016, unprecedented protests relating to Kinder Morgan’s drilling activities on Burnaby Mountain, and increasing community and First Nations opposition.

One of the drivers of this frustration is the NEB’s continued refusal to hold public hearings in the part of the country that will arguably be most directly affected by the proposal: Burnaby, the pipeline terminus and the point at which the bitumen would be loaded onto tankers to travel through the Salish Sea.

Thus, in 2014, First Nations and indigenous groups that wanted to give oral evidence to the NEB panel about their traditions, their worries, and their way of life were required to attend at other locations in the province.

In late October, representatives of four United States Tribes — the Lummi, Suquamish, Swinomish, and Tulalip Tribes — travelled up the Fraser Valley to Chilliwack to share their history, their concerns, and their worries about the Kinder Morgan expansion with the NEB. This is one of the lesser-told stories of 2014.

The four tribes have lived on the coast and relied on the Salish Sea for their way of life since time immemorial. Like the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation — whose lands and waters are in and around the tanker terminal in Burnaby — they are all Coast Salish nations. While most people recognize the Canada-U.S. border as the political separation between the two countries, for the Coast Salish, that border is simply a line on a piece of paper. Better than most, they understand that the potential environmental and cultural harms Kinder Morgan’s project could inflict won’t stop at the border.

Along with their representatives from Earthjustice — Ecojustice’s sister organization in the United States — these tribes are taking a strong stand with Canadian First Nations to oppose this pipeline. The importance of place is such that these tribes are dedicating time, resources, hearts, and minds to opposing Kinder Morgan’s proposal.

The reason is simple: The way they see it, Mother Earth has nothing left to give.

One by one, indigenous elders, leaders, youth, and fishermen stood before the NEB panel. They spoke of their connection with the sea and its resources and how any expansion of tanker traffic would further harm their lives, their economies, the ongoing practice of traditional ways of life, and the tribes’ continual efforts to protect the health of the Salish Sea. They expressed their deep concerns about increased threats to the Salish Sea, such as the risk of a catastrophic accident and oil disaster — something that seems inevitable with the large-scale pipeline expansion.

The testimonies shared by these Tribes and other Coast Salish Nations are a potent reminder that deep knowledge and connection to land and sea is something that we all need to develop.

From the fur trade, to forestry, to oil and gas development, Canada’s industries have a long history of drawing down resources and moving on — showing little concern for the finite capacity of the natural world or respect for connection to place. But that pattern cannot continue indefinitely. Tar sands extraction is more extreme than previous resource grabs. Not only are we running out of oil to extract and forests to log, the atmosphere is hitting the point where it can no longer absorb our carbon emissions without grave climate impacts.

We must learn from people who have a deep connection to place and accept that the earth has limits that must be respected. We must recognize that the harmful impacts from this pipeline will not respect international borders.

Communities like the U.S. Tribes and Canadian First Nations that have been here since time immemorial remind us that we who live here now have a duty to protect our home. Unless we do, we will continue down the path laid out by multinational energy companies, where nature and the opposition of local communities are seen as mere logistical challenges to be overcome by re-routing pipelines through mountains and writing fat cheques. And eventually we will still have to come to terms with the reality that Mother Nature has no more to give.

This piece was written by Ecojustice staff lawyer Karen Campbell. Ecojustice is one of Canada’s leading charities using the law to protect and restore Canada’s environment. Learn more at ecojustice.ca.

 

http://newsalberta.ca/2015/01/23/when-mother-earth-has-nothing-left-to-give-we-must-slow-down/

Powerful Republican lobbying group comes to Vancouver to strategize with oil industry

Author
Jenny Uechi

At a meeting last week of the Canadian Oil and Gas Export Summit in Vancouver, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a representative to huddle with industry. Here’s a look at how the Republican Party is extending its influence into Canada.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful Republican lobbying group, was in Vancouver last week at the Canadian Oil and Gas Export Summit. Their appearance comes amidst the Harper government’s attacks on environmental charities in Canada, accusing them of influence from foreign billionaire “radicals” from the US.

Christopher Guith, vice president of policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, addressed the small group of oil industry representatives at the oil and gas summit at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Vancouver.

Matt Koch, vice president for Oil Sands and Arctic Issues, was originally slated to speak at the event. Koch, who worked in the George W. Bush administration and at the American Petroleum Institute, had to cancel on short notice.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, described by The Economist as “the most muscular business lobby group in Washington”, is one of the largest Republican lobbying groups. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck recently held a telethon on its behalf, touting the Chamber as his ideological ally. Through its state chapter, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently poured $4.7 million into Wisconsin to support Republican governor Scott Walker, who recently emerged victorious from his recall race.

Also present was EPRINC president Lucian Pugliaresi, a former energy lobbyist whose company, LPI Consulting, was registered as a foreign agent due to consulting work the firm has done for countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

A “paradigm shift” for more oil supply, not less

Tall, blond and well-spoken, Guith told participants in the gleaming beige and gold conference room on the hotel’s second floor that the world was going to need more oil in the future, not less.

“We’re in the middle of an absolute paradigm shift. Conventional wisdom is on its head right now and very few people understand this, least of all in Washington, D.C.,” Guith said, echoing the views of various Republican lobbying groups.

In Guith’s view, a few points are critical for anyone in the oil and gas industry to understand in-depth:

According to a report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) – said by many speakers at the summit to be “too conservative” with its estimates – global energy demand will rise 53 per cent between 2008 and 2035. Guith said 90 per cent of that demand will come from develping nations, including places where millions are currently without household electricity.

Renewable energy will not fill the gap, he said, as it needs heavy government subsidies to survive. Even though wind installations in the U.S. are up 31 per cent in 2011, Guith said that the federal wind tax credit is set to expire on December 31, and claimed this meant an uncertain future for the industry.

Given the slumping economy and rising oil prices, Guith said, U.S. public opinion is shifting more and more in favour of offshore drilling and oil exploration.

Source: EIA.gov

In his view, North America is uniquely positioned to make substantial profits through offshore drilling and oil exploration. His line of thought: as developing countries rapidly industrialize, so does their demand for energy. Enter Canada, with its political stability and rich oil and gas resources.

Powerful Republican lobbying group comes to Vancouver to strategize with oil industry

At a meeting last week of the Canadian Oil and Gas Export Summit in Vancouver, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a representative to huddle with industry. Here’s a look at how the Republican Party is extending its influence into Canada.

This is the first of a special three-part series on what was said and heard at the Summit.

He pointed to a screen showing a statement of “profound disappointment” from Prime Minister Stephen Harper after the U.S. rejection of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

“We Yanks have a reputation for being a little brash,” he said, “but at least you know where we stand. You have these statements, which I understand are pretty big statements coming out of Ottawa – but from an American policy standpoint, it’s like…’profound disappointment’?

“Is that the best the Prime Minister can do? He must not be very upset. If it was the other way around you would have people talking about invading Canada..I say this only to make a point that it is difficult when our friends to the north don’t necessarily play as directly as we do.”

Renewable energy – not an option?

What importance will renewable energy have in supplying the global demand for energy? Not much, according to Guith. He insisted that renewable energy such as wind and solar won’t become mainstream for several reasons: for one, renewable energy is not competitive with oil in his view.

“Renewables are tied directly to federal subsidies – it’s not competitive,” he argued. “Wind is closer than other forms of renewable energy, but no one expects to see offshore investment happen. The margin is too far out for any sort of investment.”

Secondly, he said, even renewable energy projects tend to be stalled due to the BANANA syndrome (described as “NIMBY on steroids”, meaning “Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.”)

As an example, he brought up the Massachusetts Cape Wind project, a federally approved offshore wind farm which which was first proposed in 2001 and remains in “regulatory purgatory”, according to Guith, due to heavy opposition from environmental groups.

Lastly, he noted that public attitudes oil development are rapidly changing to become more accepting of oil – despite widespread warnings of climate change and the environmental damage caused by carbon emissions.

Gas prices, he said, have been rapidly rising in the past few years: Drawing on last year’s research from the Oil Price Information Service, he said that American households have been steadily spending more of their income on gas. The figure, he said, rose from $173.80 in 2009 to $281. 06 in 2010, hitting $368.09 in 2011.

According to a Pew Research poll, support for offshore drilling is at a historic high – now at 65 per cent, compared to 44 per cent in June 2010. Attitudes toward oil are changing, he suggested, to be more favorable. Guith expressed his exasperation at “ugly” U.S. regulations that put around 86 per cent of U.S. offshore reserves off limits and expressed hope that his institute could convince the public and government to allow more oil drilling and exploration.

The U.S. presidential election and Keystone XL

Guith repeatedly mentioned the rejection of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline by President Obama, which took many in the oil industry by surprise.

As Guith saw it, the major political problem with the Keystone XL pipeline was public ignorance of the project and its potential benefits for the country.

Referring to another Pew Reserach Centre poll, he said that of 63 per cent of Americans surveyed had heard about the Keystone XL pipeline. Of that group, two thirds approved. However, 28 per cent of people did not even know what the project was about. It’s hard to make the average person care about the pipeline, he said, but it is possible to change this by educating people about its benefits for them. The benefits, he said, would be increased income and a higher standard of living.

Asked about the possibility of the Keystone XL pipeline being approved in the future, both Pugliaresi and Guith said they were uncertain.

“You would have to be a moron not to approve [the Keystone XL pipeline] …It’s from Canada, they have carbon tax, universal health care…who would say no to this project?” Pugliaresi asked, shaking his head with bewilderment.

“We were all wrong on that,” Guith agreed. “The group 350.org – Bill McKibben’s organization – I have to give them credit. They were the ones who spent an entire month last year protesting at the White House, and turned it into a cause célèbre in the environment community.”

Both said it was still possible to see the Keystone XL pipeline approved after the November election, but the outcome is uncertain. No one seemed to know which way Obama would swing on the Keystone project if he was re-elected. One thing both seemed certain about was that the Canadian government would be on board.

Neither could say for sure if all Canadians would be on board.

This article is part of a series. For more from the Canada Oil and Gas Export Summit, see “Pushing through Enbridge pipeline without First Nations consent?” and “BC Premier Christy Clark not working hard enough for LNG, energy expert says”.

Empowered green groups gain upper hand in pipeline battle

WASHINGTON — Meet the people on the winning side of Canada’s oil discount — the U.S. environmental activists who have wreaked havoc in the oil sands industry by trashing its practices and shutting it out of new markets by stalling proposed pipelines such as Keystone XL.

They include Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Danielle Droitsch, Anthony Swift of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which bills itself as the United States’ most effective environmental action group backed by 350 lawyers; and Jason Kowalski and Ben Wesser, with 350.org, a grassroots organization that uses protests and social media to stop climate change.

They are uncompromising, empowered and feel good about their progress in capping the growth of fossil fuels — particularly those from Canada.

Agree with them or not, their record is astonishing: They have outmanoeuvred the powerful oil lobby and stalled the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas; they have managed to blame emissions from oil sands’ fuels for U.S. climate disasters such as Super Storm Sandy; and they believe they are on the cusp of strangling oil sands growth.

Yuri GripasNRDC’s Danielle Droitsch speaks next to advisor and lobbyist Susan Casey-Lefkowitz at their office in Washington in early February.
In interviews in the slick downtown Washington base of the NRDC, the activists were unapologetic about the distress their campaign is causing in Canada — and particularly in Alberta, where pipeline bottlenecks are depressing the price of oil, cutting into company revenues and forcing provincial budget cuts.

“The economic distress that we see right now is nothing compared to the economic distress that we will see in the future from the impacts of climate change,” said Ms. Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the international program at the NRDC.

The lesson to take away with what is happening with the shortfalls in Alberta is that diversification of the economy is critical
“The lesson to take away with what is happening with the shortfalls in Alberta is that diversification of the economy is critical … the way forward in terms of our economic and national security is building a world where we depend on clean energy.”

Their energy answer for Alberta? Forget the petrostate and switch to wind.

Related
Why Obama will okay the Keystone pipeline
Rival pipeline projects could help shrink crude discount
Alberta may offer more concessions to secure Keystone approval: envoy
Obama should ‘face down critics’ and approve Keystone XL: science journal
Never mind that Canada is a sovereign country with the right to make its own decisions.

“This is not an issue of borders anymore,” she said. “And we are seeing that with a lot of our environmental work. Most of the environmental problems are global challenges. And that is why we work so closely with colleagues in Canada.”

How did groups like NRDC, 350.org, and their close partners the Sierra Club, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, become so powerful they believe they alone have the right answers on the climate and on energy?

James Vines, a partner in Washington at King & Spalding LLP, a top law and lobby firm representing major international energy players, said environmental organizations have been empowered by deep pockets and the U.S. legal system, which provides many avenues that allow private parties to challenge energy project.

While the fight against Keystone XL has garnered a lot of attention because of its size and because it crosses the Canada-U.S. border, he said it’s just one of hundreds of fossil fuel projects opposed by environmental non-governmental organizations during the permitting process.

If a permit for a project is granted, Mr. Vines said the fight moves to the courts, where the activists routinely challenge its validity and the validity of the environmental impact studies.

Even when NGOs don’t win, lengthy delays often frustrate proponents and some times cause them to give up.

The Albertans are simply not fighting back hard enough
“The Canadians are not experiencing in Keystone something that other oil producers aren’t facing,” Mr. Vines said. “The Sierra Club and others have very, very deep war chests to challenge all these projects and they win some and they lose some. From their perspective, if they keep one of those projects from being completed, that is a victory.”

The attacks are so common that project proponents are now building years of delays and lawsuits into their business strategies, he said.

Mr. Vines said it is disappointing that Keystone XL proponent TransCanada Corp. wasn’t able to contain the controversy by doing what other U.S. energy project proponents commonly do — use the legal system as aggressively as the NGOs, with the goal of keeping the permitting process based on fact and science.

Using basic public relations, the strategy largely employed by the oil sands sector, “just doesn’t get the job done when the opponents are as well-funded and determined as those who oppose K-XL,” he said. “Successful energy project proponents usually must use the legal system to create a rigorous and defensible formal record on the scientific and legal merit of their project, one that will withstand rhetoric-based counter arguments in the trial and appellate courts.”

Indeed, the decision on Keystone XL itself boils down to whether it can cross a border, he said.

But TransCanada has “allowed cumulative impacts under the [U.S. National Environmental Policy Act] to not just mean a couple of hundred yards from the border, and then what happens in the surrounding communities, they have allowed the cumulative effects to be the border to the Gulf, the whole 1,300 miles of the project.”

Even the messaging was late and poor, making Canada easy to pick on and a “soft target,” said policy advisor Fred Cedoz, vice-president with GWEST in Washington, who has represented Canadian interests including the Alberta Enterprise Group, an Edmonton-based public policy advocacy group.

“The Albertans are simply not fighting back hard enough,” Mr. Cedoz said. “In the U.S., in order to keep our energy sector alive, we know how to push back on these, we know all the processes to use.”

President Obama is expected to rule in the next few months whether to give a permit to Keystone XL, after twice rejecting it because of environmental movement opposition.

Indeed, environmental organizations opposing Keystone XL are planning to use available processes to the fullest.

Because they helped Barack Obama get re-elected, they will be watching for specifics on his climate change intentions when he delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

And to ensure he stays on plan, they are behind the mass demonstration at the White House planned for Sunday, the day before President’s Day, when 20,000 people are expected to converge from across the continent to demand rejection of the Canadian pipeline project once and for all.

With the regulatory process on Keystone XL still under way, they said they will keep working on Capitol Hill and on the Administration to ensure a “robust” discussion on the oil sands’ impacts on the climate.

Even if Keystone XL is approved, they’ve got a litigation strategy in their back pocket to dispute the permit and cause further delays.

The upshot? Keystone XL will not be built by 2015, as TransCanada anticipates, because they will have barely finished the first phase of litigation on the permit, Mr. Vines predicted.

U.S. environmental activists, lead by 350.org and the Natural Resources Defense Council, don’t believe a word that Canadian governments, the Canadian oil sands industry and myriad analysts and researchers are saying about environmental improvements, Canada’s plans to build pipelines West and East to sell the oil to other markets if the U.S. doesn’t want it, that producers are using rail, trucks and barges to move their product in the absence of pipelines.

They believe a rejection of Keystone XL will go a long way to capping oil sands growth, but they are hedging their bets by also working with “Canadian partners” to stop Northern Gateway, the reversal of Line 9 and any other oil sands pipelines that would enable oil sands exports.

Here’s what they are saying about Keystone and the oilsands in general:

On Keystone XL: “The Keystone XL pipeline, by virtue of its size, by virtue of the fact that it’s opening up the Gulf Coast, has grown to be a very significant issue. The NRDC has identified that pipeline to be a very significant decision that signals both the expansion [of the oil sands] and where the U.S. is going on its clean energy policy.” — Danielle Droitsch, senior attorney at the NRDC focusing on Canada.

On why Keystone XL is not needed: “We made a major stride with car efficiency standards, and Keystone XL is not just about what our energy mix is today, it’s a 50-year piece of infrastructure that would increase the carbon intensity of the oil we do use, and once its built, we are stuck with it.” — Anthony Swift, attorney for the international program at NRDC.

On rail transport: “There is no question that … marginal barrels are being moved to the Gulf Coast, but the fact of the matter is that rail doesn’t support a model that justifies dramatic tar sands expansion.” — Mr. Swift.

On continuous improvement in the oil sands: “We are not convinced, from the outside looking in, that the environmental impacts are really being addressed. The issue is on the ground, and that includes expanding at these phenomenal rates. Right now the impacts on land, air and water are significant, and the technological improvements are microcosmic compared to what the impacts are.” — Ms. Droitsch.

On China’s investment in the oil sands: “Right now China doesn’t have the refining and upgrading capacity to take the bitumen. We have a large program in China and an office in Beijing. As far as we can tell, there is no intent by the Chinese government to take that capacity. We treat them more as investors than we do as consumers,” Susan Casey-Lefkowitz.

On Keystone XL’s contribution to U.S. energy security: “We don’t believe at all this is going to help energy security. We think this is an export pipeline.” — Ms. Droitsch.

On the U.S. relation with Canada if Keystone XL is rejected: “I don’t think that a rejection of Keystone XL would be a huge blow to Canada, or a huge surprise necessarily. The public concerns from Americans have been very clear, but also concerns in Canada have been very clear, about tar sands development, about the rate of expansion, about what it means climate change within Canada.” — Ms. Casey-Lefkowitz.

On the fossil fuel industry: “The fossil fuel industry has had their way with the world for a century and needs to be on the way out,” Jason Kowalski, policy director, 350.org.

Confirmation Of Climate Hawk Kerry As Secretary Of State May Doom Dirty Keystone XL Pipeline

Author
Joe Romm

The Senate confirmed John Kerry as a Secretary of State by a vote of 94 to 3. I believe this is a turning point in the fight to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

Once again, I do not think that a man who had dedicated his Senate career to fighting catastrophic climate change would start his term as Secretary approving the expansion of one of the dirtiest sources of fossil fuels in the world.

Keystone is a gateway to a huge pool of carbon-intensive fuel most of which must be left in the ground — along with most of the world’s coal and unconventional oil and gas – if humanity is to avoid multiple devastating impacts that may be beyond adaptation.

How precisely could Kerry lobby other countries to join an international climate treaty — perhaps his primary goal as Secretary — after enabling the accelerated exploitation of the tar sands? Yes, you can say that the United States already has no standing to cajole other countries into climate commitments when we’ve expanded oil and gas drilling as well as coal exports. But none of those were Kerry’s decision, whereas Keystone is.

Kerry starts as Secretary of State with a clean slate. But approving Keystone would be like dipping that slate into the dirtiest, stickiest tar imaginable — it could never be cleaned again. Certainly the three Senators from Big Oil who voted against him – Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), and James Inhofe (R-OK) — must think he isn’t going to be the friend to Texas Tea.

Here is what Kerry said on the subject of climate change in his confirmation hearing:

The solution to climate change is energy policy. And, the opportunities of energy policy so vastly outweigh the downsides that you’re expressing concerns about … You want to do business and do it well in America, you have to get into the energy race … I would respectfully say to you that climate change is not something to be feared in response to—the steps to respond to—it’s to be feared if we don’t … I will be a passionate advocate on this not based on ideology but based on facts and science, and I hope to sit with all of you and convince you that this $6 trillion market is worth millions of American jobs and we better go after it.

[see video clip]

I simply don’t think this climate hawk will recommend that Keystone be approved.
Related Posts:

New Analysis Shows Simple Math: Keystone XL Pipeline = Tar Sands Expansion = Accelerated Climate Change

James Hansen slams Keystone: “Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.”

State waters might see more oil-tanker traffic

The Seattle Times

Originally published Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 8:00 PM

State waters might see more oil-tanker traffic

Oil-tanker traffic is expected to increase in Washington waters under an expansion proposal by a Canadian pipeline company.

By Lynda V. Mapes Seattle Times staff reporter

Oil-tanker traffic in Washington waters is set to increase under a proposal floated by Canadian energy giant Kinder Morgan.

The company earlier this month announced that so much interest was expressed by potential customers in long-term purchase contracts for Canadian tar-sands oil that it is bumping up the proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain Pipeline announced last year.

The company said this month it wants to increase its pipeline capacity from 750,000 barrels per day announced last April to 890,000 barrels per day.

That translates to a big jump from its current capacity of 300,000 barrels per day, and an increase in tankers transiting the Salish Sea from five a month to up to 34 a month, if the expansion is approved, said Michael Davies, director of marine development for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

The preponderance of the tanker traffic would travel through the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the northern border of the Olympic Peninsula, proceed between the San Juan and Gulf islands, and enter Vancouver Harbor.

The company will be developing its expansion proposal to Canada’s National Energy Board over the coming months, with an eye to beginning operations by 2017, Davies said. The expansion will require twinning the company’s existing pipeline, and adding two more berths at its Vancouver-area Westridge Marine Terminal.

The increased tanker traffic would come on top of 450 to 480 more cargo ships per year traveling to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal near Bellingham, if a proposed bulk coal-shipping terminal is built.

Some see a need for caution, particularly if oil-tanker traffic escalates.

“This is one of those moments in history that will significantly increase the risk exposure of a catastrophic oil spill in Puget Sound, within a core area of the killer whale’s critical habitat,” said Fred Felleman, a Seattle resident who serves as an alternate on a steering committee engaged in a vessel- traffic risk-assessment analysis.

“You can’t just squeeze more traffic through the same waterway and expect everything to remain the same.”

The goal of the steering committee is to work with shipping interests and others to craft a common understanding of risks posed by vessel traffic and how to manage them, said Todd Hass, of the Puget Sound Partnership.

“Puget Sound has enjoyed a couple of decades without a major spill taking place, but we need to stay vigilant,” Hass said. “This is our best opportunity to look forward, anticipate changes before they are upon us, and make adjustments accordingly so that we reduce the chance that we will have a major catastrophic spill for the foreseeable future.”

Under the expansion, the number of tankers plying the Strait of Juan de Fuca would increase by more than 50 percent, to more than 1,000 a year, including 408 tankers shipping Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline tar-sands oil, Davies said.

Chip Boothe, prevention section manager for the Washington Department of Ecology’s spill- prevention preparedness and response program, noted that while tanker traffic is scheduled to increase, it still would be a small portion of the approximately 5,000 to 6,000 transits a year of large commercial vessels coming into the region.

“We are not minimizing the potential for it to have an impact, but I am appreciating that we have a pretty robust marine-navigation safety system in this region,” Boothe said.

“Yes, there is a potential for increased traffic. Is that increase adequately managed in the system we already have in place, or does it need to be modified to assure we don’t increase risk? That is what we will be looking at.”

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., in the 2012-13 appropriations bill for the U.S. Coast Guard, required a 180-day study to assess whether spill responses in place in the state would be adequate to address increased tanker traffic and tar-sands oil, which is different from Alaskan crude.

Davies said his company has never had a spill from a tanker at its dock since the Westridge terminal began operations in the 1950s.

Under the expansion, the company would be shipping the same types of oil it has since the mid-1980s, Davies said, in the same size ships.

“This is really nothing new to the pipeline, or the marine environment,” Davies said.

Kinder Morgan ignored warnings in Sumas Mountain oil spill: report

As Kinder Morgan visits Fraser Valley communities holding open houses on its Trans Mountain oil pipeline twinning project, the National Energy Board (NEB) has issued a critical report into the company’s oil spill in Abbotsford earlier this year.

On Jan. 24, 110,000 litres of oil leaked from a holding tank at Kinder Morgan’s Sumas Mountain terminal site. The cause was pressure on a gasket caused by freezing water, according to the NEB.

The report issued earlier this month to interested parties and posted on the NEB site on Nov. 22 found “the leak was detected later than it should have been,” the company’s management of procedures was “inadequate” and that the operator “failed to recognize the leak situation” on two occasions.

Critics of the company and its Trans Mountain pipeline say the report reveals deficiencies in Kinder Morgan’s response to leaks.

“When I ask the company about the risk of spills they point to the spill at the tank farm in Abbotsford in January this year, which they claim was ‘quickly contained,'” Michael Hale, Chilliwack resident and member of the PIPE UP network said. “Over 110,000 litres of a noxious petroleum product were spilled. The more information I get, including this report from the National Energy Board, suggests that the containment was not that simple or quick.”

In material handed out at the Chilliwack open house on Tuesday, the company says: “Trans Mountain pump stations and terminals have monitoring and spill containment systems that are rigorously maintained and meet NEB standards.”

The comparison has been made to the huge oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010 that was not noticed by Enbridge’s monitoring system in Edmonton for 17 hours.

In the Abbotsford spill, the NEB report said that at 2:39 a.m. on Jan. 24, a “creep” alarm was received at Trans Mountain’s Edmonton control centre but it was determined to be a false alarm due to high winds.

A second alarm at 3:11 a.m. was also dismissed as false.

It took two more alarms and a shift change before a terminal operator was sent out at 5:50 a.m. to attend the Sumas site and investigate the cause of the alarm.

At 6:50 a.m.-four hours after the first alarm-the operator arrived on site, discovered the leak, closed the valve and isolated the source.

There were no injuries or environmental damage as the leak was contained to the site although noxious fumes were released that affected neighbours.

The NEB was notified of the leak at 8:16 a.m. after the Transportation Safety Board and before the nearby Auguston Traditional School, the Abbotsford Police, FVRD, Fraser Health and MLAs John van Dongen and Randy Hawes, among other agencies.

Since 1961, there have been 78 reported spills on the Trans Mountain pipeline some of which were below the reportable threshold of 1.5 cubic barrels.

More than 70 per cent of all spills have occurred at pump stations or terminals, according to Kinder Morgan.

The company is currently amid public consultation meetings on a $4.3-billion twinning of its 1,150-kilometre pipeline. This would more than double the capacity from 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 750,000 bpd.

For its part, Kinder Morgan representatives say they have learned from recommendations made after every spill.

Critics are quick to point to incidents such as the one in Abbotsford as a cause for concern.

“Including the spill 2012, there have been a total of four major spills since Kinder Morgan bought this line in 2005,” said Chilliwack resident and PIPE UP member Sheila Muxlow. “One in Abbotsford in 2005 spilled 210,000 litres into Kilgard Creek. A spill of 250,000 litres in Burnaby in 2007 caused people to be evacuated from their homes, a cleanup that took over a year and fines levied on Kinder Morgan. Another spill in Burnaby in 2009 resulted in 200,000 litres being spilled at the tank farm there.”

The Nov. 22 report concluded: “The NEB expects companies to demonstrate a commitment to continual improvement in safety, security, and environmental protection, and in promoting a positive safety culture and strong management systems. The Board is satisfied that TMPU’s corrective actions are appropriate to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.”

phenderson@chilliwacktimes.com

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Original source article: Kinder Morgan ignored warnings in Sumas Mountain oil spill: report

Read more: http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/business/Hoping+study+answers+grad+rate+question/7626511/story.html#ixzz2EEqTA3lv

Sen. McCain calls for public hearings on CNOOC bid

Amy Minsky, Global News/The West Block : Sunday, November 18, 2012 11:00 AM

HALIFAX — U.S. Senator John McCain is calling for Parliament to hold open discussions on a Chinese company’s $15-billion bid to take over Nexen, an Alberta oil firm.

So far, all discussions have taken place away of the public eye, and the Conservative government has already twice delayed its decision as it continues weighing whether the transaction will have a “net benefit” for Canada.

McCain made the comment during an interview on the Global News program The West Block with Tom Clark, when asked for his view on the possibility of state-owned Chinese National Offshore Oil Company having a stake in Alberta’s oil sands.

“I think that’s a judgment that the Canadian government has to make,” he said from the Halifax International Security Forum. “I think it’s also a role for the legislative body to hold hearings, to get witnesses and say, ‘OK what is this all about?’”

Two benefits that come with public hearings are media coverage and public education — but when cabinet makes the decision behind closed doors, that exposure is lost, he said.

“I’m very hesitant, given the gridlock that prevails in the United States, to give any advice,” McCain said. “But one thing that I think might be helpful to me, even, would be some hearings in Parliament as to exactly what this means and exactly the impact it would have.”

Swirling around the bid proposal are many questions regarding potential risks Canada might open itself to if the deal is approved.

Those concerns are based on several factors including the fact that the state controls China’s economy and the currency is set artificially, as well as a CSIS report from earlier this year that found that state-owned enterprises buying large portions of the Canadian economy can pose a threat to national security.

If the CNOOC Ltd. takeover is approved, however, it would bring billions of dollars into Canada.

But there has been some push-back from the United States.

At issue are Calgary-based Nexen’s five royalty-free holdings in the Gulf of Mexico. The stakes were acquired between 1995 and 2000 — when oil prices were low — in exchange for deep-water drilling.

Earlier this year, Democratic House of Representatives member Edward Markey issued a letter to the treasury secretary urging him to block the transfer of Nexen’s five leases to CNOOC.

A handful of Republican senators have also come out against the takeover, citing security concerns, as has former U.S. governor Howard Dean.

Last month, former U.S. ambassador to Canada Gordon Giffin said he thought it unlikely the U.S. government would approve the transfer of royalty-free leases to another government.

McCain’s advice for open hearings, however, comes as a bit of a surprise to Alberta premier Alison Redford.

“I find that a very interesting comment, to have a legislator from one jurisdiction telling another jurisdiction how do their work when, quite frankly, that’s not the approach they take in their own jurisdiction,” she said while appearing on The West Block.

“But what I would say is that Canadians have always had an awful lot of confidence with respect to the process that we have in place,” she said.

Redford said she is hopeful and optimistic that the deal will go through, because “I think it is the right thing for Canada.”

If it is approved, details on the transaction will become publicly available, she said.

“So I have no doubt that … everyone’s going to be able to be satisfied,” she said.

McCain, of course, accepts that the decision lies with the Canadian government, but is nonetheless urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Industry Minister Christian Paradis to consider the substantial impact CNOOC could have on Canada’s economy.

“The Canadian economy is good. It is much better than the United States, and yet it is a much smaller economy,” he said. “So I think the government has to take into consideration how big an impact and how big a role this company would play in the Canadian economy. I think that’s a judgment that only elected leaders can make.”

In September, shareholders at Nexen voted in favour of the takeover, but the ultimate decision on whether to approve or deny the deal sits with the federal government.

Follow The West Block on Twitter.

© Global News. A division of Shaw Media Inc., 2012.

What you need to know about public health and safety risks from Utah’s refineries

*For a complete discussion of the health affects of pollution see “The Health Consequences of Air Pollution” on this site, under the heading Pollution and Health. References for this summary are listed at the end.

1. According the Utah DAQ’s official documents the refineries as a group are the second largest industrial source of pollution after Rio Tinto/Kennecott (RTK) in Salt Lake and Davis Counties. Specifically, RTK is responsible for about 30% of Salt Lake County’s overall air pollution. The Holly oil refinery itself emits about one fifth the amount emitted by RTK. Chevron and Tesoro each emit about 60% of what Holly does. However, see item #6 below. There is strong evidence that these official numbers severely underestimate the refineries emissions which are likely many times larger than those official numbers.
2. The refineries represent a serious safety risk. From 2000 to 2010 Utah’s five refineries have reported fires, explosions, chemical releases and spill, both large and small, on average once every nine days. Numerous serious fires and explosions have occurred in the last few years including one that damaged 271 homes on Nov. 4, 2009.

The safety risks are industry wide and nation wide. A letter from the US Dept of Labor to all the country’s refinery managers said, “In the last fifteen years, the petroleum refining industry has had more fatal or catastrophic incidents related to the release of highly hazardous chemicals (HHCs) than any other industry sector…We are particularly concerned that our inspection teams are seeing many of the same problems repeatedly.”

Rafael Moure-Eraso, the Chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, said, ““We have a problem with the refinery industry. We have decreasing staff levels, disinvestment in safety, a lack of training, and accidents or near-misses — indicators of catastrophe — being ignored.” U.S. refineries have sustained financial losses from accidents at a rate much higher than their overseas counterparts — four times as high, according to a 2006 report by Swiss Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurer. They indicated that the gap between refineries and those in other parts of the world was widening.

Russ Elveston, a forensic engineer and safety consultant retired from OSHA said, “All the units are working at higher capacity, higher pressure, higher throughput…hazards have increased simply because the units operating now produce more than they did 15 or 20 years ago. When there’s a release, the results tend to be a little more significant.” On April 2, 2010 the Chemical Safety Board Chairman John Bresland said, “The CSB has 18 ongoing investigations. Of those, seven of these accidents occurred at refineries across the country. This is a significant and disturbing trend that the refining industry needs to address immediately.” Michael Silverstein, head of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health and a former federal OSHA policy director said, “The regulatory scheme at both the state and federal levels is flawed. Right now, it’s a catch-me-if-you-can system, and the consequences of being caught are relatively small.”

According to a 2012 report from the Center for Public Integrity, refinery workers describe, “a climate in which safety takes a back seat to ramped-up production. Rather than schedule top-to-bottom maintenance outages, which take units out of operation for extended periods, equipment is being pushed hard, sometimes beyond its design life, the workers say. They have a term for it: ‘Run to failure.’”

“They’re managing their shareholders’ investments,” Dave Campbell, secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 675, which represents workers at five refineries in the Los Angeles area, said of the oil companies. “The price we pay is with our lives and our health.”

Despite a special inspection program launched by OSHA in 2007 — and mirrored by most states that have their own safety programs — problems continue to occur at refineries with stunning regularity. 24 of the 58 refineries examined by federal officials as of November 2010 had fires or explosions after the inspections were completed.

According to a 2010 City Weekly article, Utah refinery workers say, “Mind-numbing overtime is frequently part of the internal inspections because the operators lose profits while the facility is not in production. “Overtime is now the norm, much of it forced.” California maintains a steady presence at refineries rather than simply dropping in, inspecting and writing citations. Utah officially inspects refineries once a year, but many refinery workers say even that doesn’t happen.

3. Tesoro has had even more serious recent safety lapses. On Oct. 21, 2009 the SLC Tesoro refinery had a flare stack explosion. According to a refinery engineer who has consulted with UPHE that is a manifestation of severe incompetence, comparable to a surgeon amputating the wrong limb.

After a fire at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington April 2, 2010 that killed seven workers…an investigation revealed the exchanger that blew apart was put into service in 1972. Tesoro last examined welds on the device in 1998. This was the only time in the exchanger’s 38-year life that such an inspection had taken place. Moreover, it found, Tesoro had tested fewer than 20 percent of the welds and focused on areas least susceptible to damage. Company records indicate that a planned 2008 inspection by Tesoro never took place.

Washington issued the highest fine in the history of the state against Tesoro as a result of this explosion. Judy Schurke, director of the Washington state agency that overseas workplace safety and health said, “This explosion and the deaths of these men and women would never have occurred had Tesoro tested their equipment in a manner consistent with standard industry practices, their own policies and state regulations.” Lynne Baker, spokeswoman for the United Steelworkers, said, “The industry has known that to prevent such an incident from happening, any type of equipment in contact with high temperature hydrogen has to be maintained and inspected more so than in other processes. This was a preventable accident.”

4. Three of Utah’s refineries still use one of the most deadly chemicals known in large quantities even though there are safer alternatives that two thirds of the nation’s refineries have adopted. Despite decades-old warnings about the potential for mass casualties, 50 refineries across the nation still rely on a toxic chemcial known as hydrofluoric acid, or HF. At least 16 million Americans live in the potential path of HF if it were to be released in an accident or a terrorist attack, according to refinery owners’ worst case scenario reports.

Known for its ability to race long distances in a cloud, HF is extremely toxic. It causes lung congestion, inflammation and severe burns of the skin and digestive tract. It attacks the eyes and bones. Experiments in 1986 detected the acid at potentially deadly levels five miles from the point of release. In Utah Chevron, Flying J and Holly all use HF. The EPA requires that every refinery that uses HF calculate what a worst case scenario would look like if an accident involving HF occurred at their refinery. Chevron calculated that 1.1 million people would be at risk and the potential radius of exposure would be 22 miles. For Flying J, it was 376,000 people at risk with a radius of exposure of 11 miles. For Holly it was 216,294 people at risk with a radius of 11 miles.

On October 30, 1987, at Marathon Petroleum Company’s Texas City refinery. A piece of equipment came loose and fell on a vessel containing HF. Over the next 44 hours, tens of thousands of pounds of HF gushed out, drifting into nearby residential areas and forcing the evacuation of 4,000 people. More than 1,000 people went to the hospital. Nationally, there have been at least 29 fires at 23 refineries that use HF since the beginning of 2009. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board called a July 2009 explosion at Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery “a significant near-miss” for a widespread release of highly toxic hydrogen fluoride (HF) into a community.

Trucks entering Utah’s “refinery row” are also carrying HF which puts the local community at serious risk from a possible trucking accident.

5. Oil refinery emissions are higher inside homes near refineries than outside those homes. Toxic pollution from oil refineries doesn’t stay outside, it seeps into nearby homes, and builds up. You can say that residents of South Davis County breathe refinery pollution with every breath they take.

6. Nationwide refinery emissions are many times greater than what is reported to government agencies and the EPA knows it. According to the Associated Press, April 22, 2010, “The nation’s oil and chemical plants are spewing a lot more pollution than they report to the Environmental Protection Agency — and the EPA knows it. Records, scientific studies and interviews suggest pollution from petrochemical plants is at least 10 times greater than what is reported to the government and the public.” How come? The United States is using outdated measuring devices, not the lasers, solar technology and remote sensors used by European countries and Canada. Internal documents from the EPA confirm that, and other reports state that real emissions could be anywhere from 3 to 100 times greater than what is reported, primarily because valve leaks are much greater than what these older methods are detecting. There is every reason to believe that Utah refineries are also vastly underreporting their real emissions.

7. Refinery pollution is uniquely toxic. Crude oils contain over a thousand different hydrocarbons and, depending on the source of the oil, vary greatly in the relative amounts of individual hydrocarbons and trace metal and sulfur content. Refinery emissions are highly contaminated by HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) which are considered highly toxic in very small quantities. HAPs are primarily benzene-like compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins and heavy metals.

Benzene is officially considered a carcinogen by the Dept. of Health and Human Services, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program, and the EPA. People who live near oil refineries have the double the risk for leukemia compared the rest of the population. Studies with pregnant animals show that breathing benzene has harmful effects on the developing fetus. These effects include low birth weight, delayed bone formation, and bone marrow damage.

Long-term exposure to benzene primarily harms the bone marrow, the soft, inner parts of bones where new blood cells are made. This may result in:

• Anemia (a low red blood cell count), which can cause a person to feel weak and tired.

• A low white blood cell count, which can lower the body’s ability to fight infections and may even be life-threatening.

• A low blood platelet count, which can lead to excessive bleeding.

Exposure to benzene near the US permissible limit is associated with sperm having the wrong number of chromosomes. Exposure to petrochemicals, specifically benzene, gasoline, and hydrogen sulphide is significantly associated with increased frequency of spontaneous abortion.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), one of the most serious components of refinery emissions, act as endocrine disrupting hormones in extremely small quantities. They can pass through the placenta and result in concentrations as high in a newborn baby as the baby’s own sex hormones. Endocrine hormones are likely the most powerful biologic agents known. Chemicals that mimick those hormones are known as “endocrine disruptors.” 1/1000 of previously recommended safe dosages of hormone mimickers are now known to create genetic malfunctions and precancerous conditions in in vitro cells.

The Endocrine Society, the official organization of the specialists, endocrinologists, made this official statement on the danger of endocrine disrupting chemicals in 2009. “Even infinitesimally low levels of exposure indeed, any level of exposure at all, may cause endocrine or reproductive abnormalities, particularly if exposure occurs during a critical developmental window. Surprisingly, low doses may even exert more potent effects than higher doses.” The main finding of a new report, three years in the making, published March 14, 2012 by a team of 12 scientists who study hormone-altering chemicals was: small doses can have big health effects, there are no safe doses for endocrine disruptors.

A recent article in the world’s most well respected medical journal, The New England Journal of Medicine, made this statement. “Mutagenic effects theoretically can result from a single molecular DNA alteration. Regulatory prudence has led to the use of “one-hit models” for mutagenic end points, particularly cancer, in which every molecule of a carcinogen is presumed to pose a risk. The carcinogens of concern in crude oil are benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).”

The article also said, “Pregnant women should particularly avoid dermal contact with oil and should avoid areas with visible oil contamination or odors.”

The proposed Tesoro expansion will increase their annual HAPs emissions by 9,000 lbs/ year. As a group HAPs are the deadliest, most toxic substances known and this may represent the worst of the public health consequences to refinery expansion.

8. Industrial emissions are even more toxic than traffic pollution.

see references below.

9. Children living near petrochemical industries have higher levels of PAHs in their blood than adults, contributing to more DNA damage. see references below.

10. Refinery expansions will increase local diesel emissions from hundreds of new trucks coming in and out of the refineries carrying new crude oil. Two new studies, considered the best ever done on the toxicity of diesel emissions, confirmed that long term exposure to even low levels of diesel exhaust raises the risk of dying from lung cancer: for local residents about 50% and for refinery workers about 300%.
References:

1. Brody, J.G., R. Morello-Frosch, A. Zota, P. Brown, C. Perez and R. Rudel. 2009. Linking Exposure Assessment Science with Policy Objectives for Environmental Justice and Breast Cancer Advocacy: The Northern California Household Exposure Study. American Journal of Public Health, 99: S600-S609,

2. Barregard L, E Holmberg and G Sallsten. 2009. Leukaemia incidence in people living close to an oil refinery. Environmental Research 109:985-990.

3. Xing C, Marchetti F, Li G, et al. Benzene exposure near the US permissible limit is associated with sperm aneuploidy. Environ Health Perspect 2010;118:833-839

4. Xu, Xiping, Sung-Il Cho, et al.. “Association of petrochemical exposure with spontaneous abortion.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 55: 31-36. 1998.

5. Bernard D. Goldstein, M.D., Howard J. Osofsky, M.D., Ph.D., and Maureen Y. Lichtveld, M.D., M.P.H. The Gulf Oil Spill. N Engl J Med 2011; 364:1334-1348April 7, 2011

6. Silverman DT, Samanic CM, Lubin JH, et al. The diesel exhaust in miners study: a nested case-control study of lung cancer and diesel exhaust. J Natl Cancer Inst. March 2, 2012. doi:10.1093/jnci/djs034.

7. Attfield MD, Schlieff PL, Lubin JH, et al. The diesel exhaust in miners study: a cohort mortality study with emphasis on lung cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. March 2, 2012. doi:10.1093/jnci/djs035.

These refinery expansion plans should be suspended for the following reasons:

1. A health study of what the refinery emissions are doing to the health of residents of South Davis County has never been done and should be done before expansion is allowed.

2. The three refineries that currently use hydrofluoric acid should be required to change to safer alternatives.

3. The refineries should be inspected regularly, not once every few years.

4. The refineries should be required to use remote sensing technology to detect the full extent of their fugitive emissions.

5. The state should adopt a policy that no net increase in refinery related pollution will be allowed.

Contact the EPA and Gov. Herbert’s office with your phone calls and e-mails about why these expansion plans should not be allowed to proceed as planned. The deadline

Care about refinery pollution? Contact

Texas solidarity letter

Texas solidarity letter

September 26, 2012

RE: Statement on the Brutal Treatment of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Protestors in Texas

Members of Texas Law Enforcement and TransCanada CEO Russ Girling:

We the under-signed U.S. and Canadian organizations and First Nation leaders have learned that while protesting the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, two US citizens over the course of five hours were repeatedly tasered, pepper sprayed and subjected to prolonged stress positions by the Wood County, Texas sheriff’s office with TransCanada personnel also on hand.

We object in the most strenuous terms to this brutal treatment of peaceful protestors, who are trying to protect their land and families from a dangerous and unnecessary project.

Regardless of our views on civil disobedience, there is not an inch of daylight between our views and those of the protesters on the dangers of this tar sands pipeline. Keystone XL threatens the health and livelihoods of families with tar sands oil spills and is part of an industry that threatens
communities with extreme weather. Tar sands oil undermines our clean energy choices.

These protests are part of rising, legitimate public concern with tar sands and tar sands pipelines.

People who are moved to peacefully express their opposition must not be subject to abuse or any type of violence.

We are watching events in Texas closely and we expect humane and respectful treatment of any further protestors.

Sincerely,

Burnaby Residents Opposed to KinderMorgan Expansion (BROKE)
http://brokepipelinewatch.ca