Tag Archives: State Department

One More Reason to Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline: Questions about State Department Handling of Review

10/28/2011 Frances Beinecke’s Blog: One More Reason to Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline: Questions about State Department Handling of Review: Today I joined several environmental leaders in calling for the State Department to conduct an investigation into the department’s handling of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. More than a dozen members of Congress also requested an inquiry into potential conflicts of interest.

Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth examined relevant documents and found that TransCanada, the company behind Keystone XL, was allowed to screen the companies bidding to do the project’s environmental impact study; the company that was chosen listed TransCanada as a “major client.” It also does business for many of the same oil companies that stand to benefit from the pipeline.

Meanwhile, State Department officials coached TransCanada on messaging—and seemed to be in cahoots with them on skirting safety protections.  From the start, they have shown a disposition towards the pipeline proponents at the expense of public – exemplified by the Secretary’s comments a year ago that she was “inclined” to approve it.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a massive, destructive proposal and the more we learn about it, the more objections we have. Now those concerned about integrity in government are joining the many other Americans opposed to this dangerous project.

Citizens alarmed by climate change do not want the Keystone XL pipeline to lock America into decades of one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet.

Farmers, ranchers, and businesspeople living along Keystone XL’s route do not want to put their communities, rangeland, and water supply at risk of pipeline eruptions.

And national security experts are speaking out about the danger of deepening America’s fossil fuel addiction with tar sands oil. Retired Army Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson wrote a powerful piece in The Hill that the pipeline the “will comfort our enemies.” He refutes TransCanada’s claims that the pipeline will enhance America’s national security and says:

This pipeline would move dirty oil from Canada to refineries in Texas and would set back our renewable energy efforts for at least two decades, much to our enemies’ delight.

Whose assessment of national security would you believe: The foreign oil company that stands to profit by exporting tar sands oil to Asia and Europe? Or the American general who served as the military’s senior logistician in Iraq in 2006 and 2007?

The drumbeat of opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline is growing louder and louder. Citizens are asking their elected officials about it at town hall meetings, and President Obama has been met with protests and questions from a range of constituents – from high donors to students as he travels the country.

You can make your protest heard by signing up for the November 6 event outside the White House here or by sending a message President Obama at www.StopTar.org.

IEN News: Keystone XL Environmental Impact Hearings Coming To Your Area

IEN News: Keystone XL Environmental Impact Hearings Coming To Your AreaThe proposed Keystone XL pipeline would consist of approximately 1,711 miles of new 36-inch-diameter pipeline, with approximately 327 miles of pipeline in Canada and 1,384 miles in the U.S. TransCanada filed an application for a Presidential Permit with the U.S. Department of State to build and operate the Keystone XL Project. The proposed Project would have the capacity to transport 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to delivery points in Oklahoma and southeastern Texas.

On August 26, 2011, the U.S. Department of State released a final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline saying the pipeline would have “no significant impact” on the environment.

According to the U.S. administration, they are saying President Obama now has three months to determine whether the controversial project is in the national interest of America.

Our concerns with this FEIS are similar to the concerns of a previous pipeline project called Keystone (with no “XL” attached to it, sometimes called Keystone 1) and its final EIS that was done in 2008. The basic concern was the EIS was incomplete, and didn’t thoroughly address all the issues. Keystone XL fails to take seriously the potential damage to American Indian Tribes and their Tribal members in the States of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. These damages could threaten, among other things, water aquifers, water ways, cultural sites, agricultural lands, animal life, public drinking water sources and other resources vital to the Tribal peoples of the region in which the pipeline is proposed to be constructed. Lack of adequate consultation has been a consistent concern expressed by Tribal members of all the affected Tribal Nations who to this day have not been thoroughly informed of the potential effects of this pipeline.

With over 12 spills caused by the Keystone 1 pipeline, which runs through eastern North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Kansas with links to Missouri and Illinois, it is critical that the State Department take the potential environmental and cultural resource impacts seriously.

The FEIS is not even requiring TransCanada, the company that hopes to build Keystone XL, to submit an emergency response plan before final approval. In spite of the reported spills on Keystone I, the XL EIS predicts 1.78 to 2.51 spills, of any size, per year. Click here to view a larger version of this map and more comprehensive information.

Tribal Nations deserve and have a right to be thoroughly informed and have a truthful account of the damage Keystone XL can cause. The toxic corrosive crude oil that would flow through the Keystone XL pipeline comes from the tar sands in northern Alberta, Canada.

The tar sands are located in the homelands of the Cree, Dene and Métis communities. The pipeline will cross hundreds of miles of indigenous territory, including Lakota territory, and violate treaty rights under the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868 as well as human rights under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

U.S executive approval is needed before the pipeline can be laid in place. The State Department has announced the schedule for a series of public input meetings in States along the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Written comments will be accepted by the State Department until October 9th, 2011.

Public Hearings on Keystone XL Pipeline
Monday, September 26, 2011

Texas: Bob Bowers Civic Center 3401 Cultural Center Dr., Port Arthur, 4:30 – 10 p.m.
Kansas: Kansas Expo Center 1 Expocenter Dr., Topeka, noon – 3:30 p.m., 4– 8 p.m.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Montana: Dawson Community College Toepke Center Auditorium, 300 Community Dr., Glendive,
4:30 – 10 p.m.
Nebraska: Pershing Center 226 Centennial Mall, South Lincoln,
noon – 3:30 p.m., 4. – 8:00 p.m .

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Texas: University of Texas Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium,
2313 Red River St., Austin, noon – 3:30 p.m., 4 – 8 p.m.

Thursday, September 29, 2011
South Dakota: Best Western Ramkota,
920 West Sioux Ave., Pierre, noon – 3:30 p.m., 4 – 8 p.m.
Nebraska: West Holt High School,100 N. Main St. Atkinson, 4:30 – 10 p.m.

Friday, September 30, 2011
Oklahoma: Reed Center Exhibition Hall,5800 Will Rogers Rd., Midwest City., noon – 3:30 p.m., 4 – 8 p.m.

Friday, October 7, 2011
Washington, D.C.: To be announced via website and public notice.

Click here to read the XL Final EIS, or find additional information

To learn more about the Keystone I spills, check out the Keystone XL infographic below, created by the Huffington Post, an online newspaper. Click here to read the related article

“Indian Country” needs to attend these public hearings! Let’s unite with one voice to protect our sacred Mother Earth!
Protect our Water-of-Life! Defend our Treaty Rights!

DOS will also accept written comments beginning on the date the final EIS is issued (August 26, 2011). In order to ensure that comments are processed and considered before the decision is made on the permit application, all comments must be submitted by midnight on October 9, 2011 (Washington D.C. time).Comments can be submitted by the following methods:

DOS Comments Page: Make a Comment
E-mail at: keystonexl-nid@cardno.com;
USPS mail at: Keystone XL Project NID, P.O. Box 96503-98500, Washington, D.C. 20090-6503; or
FAX at: 206-269-0098

As noted above, in order for comments to be considered they must be submitted by midnight on October 9, 2011 (Washington D.C. time). Learn more.

The statements underscored grave concerns over the impacts tar sands development are having on downstream First Nations in Canada. With the U.S. supporting the construction of pipelines transporting crude oil from the Canadian tar sands, and knowing the environmental and human rights affects; if the U.S. approves the Keystone XL, it would be complicit in international human rights violations.

There are concerns of independent studies that have confirmed toxins in the Athabasca River and Delta one of the largest freshwater deltas in the world. Native peoples in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, Canada are concerned that this may be linked to unusually high rates of cancer through the consumption of contaminated fish and meat.

To date, 5 legal cases have been launched over violations to treaty rights by tar sands projects. In BC, Canada over 80 Indigenous – First Nations are saying no to the proposed Enbridge pipeline, another proposed pipeline from the tar sands planning to transport tar sands oil to the Pacific coast to go to China.