Recently, an Exxon Mobil tar sands pipeline ruptured in Arkansas, resulting in thousands of barrels of crude oil being spilled, and requiring the evacuation of 22 homes. The EPA has classified this as a “major spill”, and it covered neighborhood streets and backyards, and forced dozens of people to evacuate their homes. It’s also had a devastating impact on birds and other local wildlife. The oil from this spill could still reach Lake Conway, which is a popular fishing area and source of drinking water for the community.
This spill highlights further just how risky the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would be. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would be nearly twice as wide as the one that ruptured in Arkansas, and would carry almost nine times as much tar sands oil every day. Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCV’s senior vice president of government affairs said, “The American people and the White House are seeing the devastating impacts of tar sands oil on the television in real time,” and also noted that the spill is “dramatically changing the politics” of the reality of building the Keystone XL pipeline.
The company behind the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, TransCanada, is doing damage control and trying to hide their terrible safety record. Though they told the Huffington Post that a “significant spill” from this pipeline would be “very unlikely event,” a separate pipeline they built in 2001, called Keystone, had over 12 spills in the first year. That’s nearly one spill every month. And it flies in the face of what TransCanada promised when building it, when their CEO said Keystone would “meet or exceeded world-class safety and environmental standards.”
We can’t trust TransCanada. Their Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will transport some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through the middle of our country, risking our agricultural lands and our waterways—including the Ogallala Aquifer, which is our nation’s largest freshwater source. It’s all risk and no rewards, because the pipeline would not make us energy independent, and as the State Department found, it would only create 35 permanent jobs.