Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rep. Gwen Moore Urges Tougher EPA, State Dep't. Review For Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline

I got this email yesterday, July 22, 2011, from Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore, (D), about the proposed, and controversial transnational Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline:

Dear Mr. Rowen,
Thank you for contacting my office to express your opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. I appreciate your letter and would like to update you on the status of this project. 
The Keystone XL is a proposed pipeline which would begin in Canada and reach all the way to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The Administration, including the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among others are currently reviewing a permit that would allow the pipeline to be built in the United States.
These agencies are expected to reach a decision by the end of 2011 as to whether the proposal, along with the associated risks, would be in our national interest. 
With the creation of a new pipeline comes the possibility for negative environmental impact in the surrounding areas. In order to properly maintain and secure the pipeline, the EPA has proposed that the State Department look into additional measures in order to reduce the impact of the pipeline.
For example, the use of increased ground level inspections of the pipeline could work to reduce possible leaks, especially pinhole leaks that may not be visible from commonly used aerial patrols.
The EPA has also recommended an increase in the number of valves for select areas of the pipeline. These more vulnerable areas would include the Ogallala Aquifer as well as water crossings that are smaller in width. 
Increasing valves in these vulnerable areas could decrease the risk of undetected leaks which may not be picked up by the current detection system.
There is also current discussion on the possibility of an alternative route and the EPA is reviewing the potential benefits of re-routing the proposal.
You may also be interested to know that last year, fifty of my colleagues sent a letter to Secretary Clinton urging that the Keystone proposal not be approved unless its potential environmental impacts were thoroughly reviewed.
In addition, the letter asked that other factors, such as greenhouse gas emissions and tar sands oil use, are effectively weighed before making the final decision.
Thank you for writing me on this important issue. I will continue to follow the course of this proposal and any changes made towards reducing its environmental impact while increasing energy efficiency.
Gwen Moore
Member of Congress
The Clinton-led State Department's actions on the proposal are lacking, according to this New York Times editorial.

And the break in a pipeline that carried the same type of heavy, acidic tar sand oil and the resulting pollution of the Yellowstone River in Montana is an unfortunate, but important, 42,000 gallon-warning about the proposed Keystone XL project.


xoff said...

We got the same email, but I thought it was somewhat noncommital -- it doesn't say she opposes it or that she was one of the 50 signers on the letter. It seemed more like a report on what is happening than her taking a position.

James Rowen said...

I agree. We need to send some different letters.