Several Sierra Club members went to Port Arthur, Texas in September 2013 for a US State Department hearing on the KXL pipeline stretching from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Wood River, Patoka, IL and finally Port Arthur. The Port Arthur hearing was swamped by Texas politicians, pipeline welders and supporters of the fossil fuel industry summarized in a term Carbon Combustion Complex (CCC) from the novel Fall of Western Civilization.
There were perhaps 400 supporters of KXL and a small group of 50 who testified against the pipeline.
We heard speakers from 4:30 until nearly 10PM, after which mental summaries were made. It was stunning to hear a pipeline welder who reported leaks in their “flawless” workmanship. He was being paid $1200 weekly to continue working on the pipeline with the proviso he would remain silent about the leaks. However, the forthright welder came to Port Arthur as a “whistleblower” to warn against continuation of a pipeline carrying the most polluting tar sands (bitumen) oil on Earth.
Another equally disturbing speaker was a man who brought photos of the boreal forest area, equal to the 54,000 square miles of Louisiana. The speaker advised against going to Alberta for health reasons. The toxicity is harmful to people and non-human beings living in the area of extraction. Tar sands removal has desecrated the forest to the point of moonscaping a natural beautiful zone, now permanently destroyed. The speaker advised all in the audience to simply peruse NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC to see several compelling photojournalistic articles without inhaling any of the toxic fumes. Google will bring the toxic tar sands story into our homes if we do not receive NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.
Native Americans of this continent are fighting (and dying) exploitation as they have done for centuries.
During hours of testimonies about KXL, nothing was said of the fact this pipeline would be passing through an area where the Ogallalla aquifer provides water for millions and nourishes agriculture in the heartland.
In 1812 an awesome earthquake occurred in the New Madrid fault that forced the Mississippi to flow north. In this reversal of course, water spilled over into Tennessee forming Reelfoot Lake. Reelfoot Lake is now a popular tourist and fishing location. Seismologists fear the New Madrid fault is overdue for another tremor. In the event of a pipeline rupture what would become of the aquifer upon which the heartland depends? Hydrologists and geologists believe this aquifer is millions of years old and so immense that it is large enough to cover the entire lower forty-eight states under two feet of water. Are we foolish enough to risk the purity of such an aquifer for the sake of tar sands oil? The arc of history is now bending towards carbon neutrality when nations are developing renewable resources found in solar and wind energy. SCIENCE magazine in the 1990’s concluded abundant Texas wind energy stretching from central Texas north to Canada was sufficient to provide sufficient power to the lower forty-eight states if a transition is made from fossil fuels.
Maplight foundation researches money given to elected officials. With regard to KXL it was revealed that those who voted YES on KXL received an average of $45,218. Those who rejected KXL were given $3,549.
Maplight is easily found on the Internet. The Louisiana tally for mid-February indicated Steve Scalise, Cedric Richmond, John Fleming Ralph Abraham, Garret Graves, Charles Boustany, David Vitter and Bill Cassidy all voted Yes on KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE, CLIMATE CHANGE. By a vote of 270-152, the house passed a bill approving construction of the KXL pipeline while stating ‘climate change is real and not a hoax.’ A yes vote was to send the legislation (S1) to President Obama who was expected to veto it.”(THE ADVOCATE February 15. P.8A)
Do we need further evidence of melting ice in Greenland and the Polar Regions sending tons of water into the atmosphere that must eventually come to Earth as rain or snow it has done in Boston and other areas of the Atlantic coast in the winter of 2015?
What is not visible to all who reside on Earth is the fact our ocean has risen 7.7 inches between 1870 and 2004.
Norfolk, VA is host to the largest naval base in the world. The mighty US Navy, along with anxious residents of Norfolk knows they are unable to restrain a rising ocean. Naval bases worldwide are unable to decide how to relocate to areas safe from our warming, rising ocean.
Rejection of KXL, gradual transition to carbon neutrality in the global economy now depends upon President Obama who promised to veto the pipeline. The planet awaits a February White House decision.
Powerful CCC magnates who control our global economy are determined to keep humankind locked into burning fossil fuels.