Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tar Sands Oil Threatens Lake Michigan


The debate over the Keystone XL pipeline may seem distant. As it turns out, the threat is very immediate for us – if Canadian company Enbridge gets its way toxic tar sands oil could be spilled into Lake Michigan, from which we draw our drinking water.





We’ve been hearing a lot about the dangers of the Keystone XL pipeline owned by TransCanada.  It threatens the future of the planet because it will access such a large amount of fossil fuel that the resulting emission of greenhouse gases, according to NASA scientist James Hensen, will mean “game over” for stopping global warming. That alone means it should be stopped but in addition transporting highly toxic tar sands oil across thousands of miles of freshwater aquifer endangers vast areas of our country’s farmland, and this would be all for the sake of temporary jobs and oil that will be shipped overseas.

You may have heard about the courageous blockaders who are putting their bodies on the line in Texas, Oklahoma, Boston and many other places to prevent this climate catastrophe. They are using civil disobedience to protest the pipeline. Some of them have chained their necks to the construction equipment to keep the destruction from going forward.

Still, it may all seem far away from us in the 5th Congressional District. However, the threat is very immediate for us – if Canadian company Enbridge gets its way toxic tar sands oil could be spilled into Lake Michigan, from which we draw our drinking water.

According to the Sierra Club tar sands oil contains, among other toxic metals, 11 times more sulfur and nickel, six times more nitrogen, and five times more lead than conventional crude oil. There are plans by another Canadian company, Enbridge, to have the extra-toxic tar sands oil pass within twenty miles of the south shores of Lake Michigan.

Enbridge’s plan is for an existing pipeline to be revamped to carry three times more crude, about 700,000 barrels a day, of tar sands oil within twenty miles of Lake Michigan and across numerous rivers that feed into the lake. This is a pipeline that broke in 2010 and caused more than 1.1 million gallons of oil contamination along forty miles of the Kalamazoo River,

The current Enbridge pipeline is notorious for major leaks in our area. The Kalamazoo leak, which is still being cleaned up, was followed by another in April last year in New Lenox, IL. In that incident the Illinois Emergency Management Agency estimated that between 2,500 and 20,000 gallons of oil leaked.

Why should our drinking water be endangered to enable a foreign company to reap enormous profits? The Enbridge pipeline will enrich a few at the expense of many. We have to get serious about making the changes vital to protecting the climate. Opposing the Enbridge pipeline, right here in our backyard, is one good place to start.

I oppose letting tar sands oil threaten Lake Michigan. The Enbridge 6B pipeline expansion should not go through. We should be focusing on creating green, sustainable jobs in our area, not on endangering the planet with more greenhouse gas emissions and our drinking water with an increased threat of oil contamination.

Where is the 5th district incumbent Quigley on this important issue?


Game Over for the Climate, James Hansen,

Tar Sands Blockade, http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/

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