Thursday, January 22, 2015

Letter to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph by Sybil Diccion from Morenci about the Keystone XL Pipeline

Opposing Keystone for the environment
To the editor,
The Bloomberg View editorial in Wednesday’s Telegram is advocating that Obama “OK the Keystone pipeline,” even though the Bloomberg writers admit that “Keystone will not create many jobs for the U.S., and its delivery of 830,000 barrels a day won’t keep the price of gasoline low.” Although I disagree with the initial premise, I was most pleased to read their confirmation that Keystone will NOT create many jobs nor lower our gasoline prices; both statistics being touted by proponents as the reasons Keystone SHOULD be approved. Neither are true and neither are my reasons for objection. My honest concerns deal with the environment.
I, as an aging senior, will probably never have to deal with the problems that are sure to occur should these types of projects be allowed to flourish. But it is what we are leaving our children and grandchildren to deal with that is so troubling.
Tar sands oil is a different animal from what we would recognize as petroleum. It’s a tarry, asphalt-like substance that contains more toxic elements such as arsenic, benzene, lead, mercury and toluene. It would be promising if Trans-Canada could guarantee that spills or leaks would never occur, but Phase I, alone, of the pipeline project spilled 12 times in the U.S. in its first year of operation, and Enbridge, another pipeline operator, suffered a spill of more than one million gallons in the Kalamazoo River in 2010. That cleanup has cost more than $1.2 billion and is still underway. To add insult to injury, none of the companies transporting heavy tar sands crude are required to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which pays for the costs of cleaning up a spill and ensures that taxpayers are not footing the bill.
Although only TC knows the exact route of the pipeline, it's certain that in addition to crossing some of the most important farm and ranch lands in the country, it would also cross one of the most vital freshwater sources in the nation, the Ogallala aquifer. The inability of pipeline alarm systems to quickly recognize a leak and alert pipeline operators makes every leak a potential if not actual disaster. “Industry leak detection systems missed 19 of 20 spills,” says NRDC's Anthony Swift. “And what's more concerning is, if you look at the data over the last 10 years, four out of five spills have been greater than 40,000 gallons.” Public Citizen reports dozens of problems with photos as proof of dents and poorly-welded seams in segments of KXL pipeline already laid in southern Texas. One whistleblower was fired for insisting that there be an investigation of the pipelines.
Even if I could be convinced that carbon emissions would not be increased, I still would object to the construction of the Keystone. I applaud any decisions made that would benefit the lives of those younger than I, but I do not believe that this pipeline is one of those beneficial decisions.
Sybil Diccion

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