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Major Spill Points Up Pipeline Risk A s the battle over the proposed Keystone XL branded it with one of the agency’s worst ratings. pipeline rages on, the extreme threat posed “Among the errors and omissions in the State by pumping hundreds of thou­sands of barrels Department review is the mind-boggling assertion a day of corrosive tar sands through America’s heartland that this massive new pipeline would not drive is no longer a matter of conjecture for one small significantly more produc­t ion of tar sands oil and town in Arkansas. More than 200,000 gallons of thus increase global warming pollution,” says Swift. heavy tar sands Producing tar sands crude spilled in crude is so energy- Mayflower, a suburb intensive that it north of Little Rock, generates three times after the Pegasus as much global warm­ pipeline operated ing pollution as the by Exxon­Mobil production of conven­ ruptured in March, tional crude. That is transforming especially alarming backyards into toxic given that the level black swamps and of heat-trapping forcing residents carbon dioxide in to evacuate. our atmosphere The Keystone XL An ExxonMobil pipeline spilled 200,000 gallons in Arkansas. once-unthinkable far larger than Pegasus, snaking 2,000 miles from barrier of 400 parts per million for the first time in at Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and carrying more least three million years. At this rate humanity could than 800,000 barrels of toxic tar sands oil a day. reach 450 ppm in just 20 years, at which point, most “Pipelines operating at temperatures above 100 climate scientists agree, there will be catastrophic and degrees have been found to spill up to 23 times more irreversible consequences. “If we want to make the often than conventional pipelines due to external climate better we have to stop making it worse,” says corrosion,” says Anthony Swift, an attorney with NRDC President Frances Beinecke. “We can’t afford NRDC’s International Program. “Keystone XL more climate-wrecking projects like this one.” would be one of those pipelines.” NRDC continues to be at the forefront of the fight Because the Keystone XL would cross the border against the Keystone XL. In April, our Members and between the United States and Canada, the State online activists were part of a nationwide protest that Department is charged with evaluating its risk and flooded the State Depart­ment with one million determ­ining whether it would serve the national messages challenging its woefully inadequate review interest. Yet the department’s most recent assessment of the pipeline. President Obama is expected to make has received the equivalent of a failing grade from a final decision about the Keystone XL by this fall. the Environmental Protection Agency, which Take action at: Oil spill © EPA pipeline would be recently broke the 3

Nature's Voice Summer 2013

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