For a "brief" on the Tar Sands/Keystone Pipeline issue, we've borrowed a portion of the notice sent out on October 7, 2010 to members of the Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska:
" ... According to the Environmental Protection Agency, securing oil from tar sands and delivering it to US refineries results in nearly double the greenhouse gas emissions as other oil delivered to US refineries. This begins with environmental destruction of clear-cutting the boreal forests, an effective source of carbon storage, and only gets worse with intensive greenhouse gas emissions that come from heating the subsurface to extract the tar sands.
Given the near-consensus view of climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change, building the pipeline to develop this source of oil would ultimately result in the rest of us having to bear greater burdens in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to make up the difference. Or, if no offsetting reductions are made, it would force us to bear worse consequences in extreme weather and the resulting calamity.
TransCanada has demonstrated the same corporate tendency to cut corners that resulted in the gulf oil spill. They proposed to use a thinner walled pipe than is normally used at the pressures they planned. While TransCanada backed down from that plan in response to public pressure, the fact that it was even proposed demonstrates the company cannot be trusted to protect the precious land and water of the Nebraska Sandhills.
Despite the fact that the pipeline project has yet to be approved by the State Department, TransCanada is threatening to use strong-arm eminent domain tactics to force agreements with landowners who are not only skeptical about the pipeline project, but are not interested in it running through their farm or ranchland. Those actions seem premature at best.
The bottom line is clear. America must focus on better approaches to securing the energy it needs by developing renewable alternatives to fueling cars. In the long term, electric cars powered by renewable sources such as wind and low carbon biofuels will create greater opportunity in rural America while confronting the very real threat of climate change.
For more information, contact Traci Bruckner, firstname.lastname@example.org or 402.687.2103 x 1016." www.cfra.org