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SCB to Continue Scrutiny of Tar Sands, Pipelines as Keystone XL Decision is Delayed

November 10, 2011. The Canadian oil and gas company TransCanada has proposed constructing the Keystone XL pipeline, which would at full capacity transport 900,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, 2,000 miles south to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Tar sands mining creates vast wastelands of open-pit mining, toxic tailing ponds which are a threat to migrating birds; air and water pollution, and substantial destruction of wildlife habitat.   The mining and drilling that will take place to feed the Keystone pipeline will eventually convert an area the size of Florida, from peat bogs or Boreal forest to grasslands or highly degraded areas.  Each spring more than half of America’s birds, including the highly endangered Whooping Crane migrate to the Boreal forests of Canada to nest.   A rupture to the pipeline, and the resulting oil spill, would be potentially devastating to countless numbers and species of birds and other wildlife using this area.

On November 10, 2011, the State Department, the primary agency reviewing the proposed pipeline, ordered a review of alternative routes to avoid the environmentally-sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska and the Ogallala aquifer.  SCB President Paul Beier joined Policy Committee Member and Canadian scientist, Paul Paquet, in issuing the following statement:

"SCB plans to continue its strong scrutiny of the entire tar sands process as well as any alternate routes for the Keystone XL and Enbridge Pipelines. It seems likely that any routes will still cause great harm to the whooping crane, several ecosystems in Canada and the United States, and the earth's climate."

Previously, on October 9, 2011, SCB wrote a LETTER to the Secretary of State raising a series of questions about the Keystone Pipeline.  And in August of 2011, SCB prepared extensive comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Read SCB's August 24 press release HERE.

SCB's comments on the DEIS can be found HERE.

Related Article – Final Environmental Impact Statement Does Not Consider Endangered Species Input from Fish and Wildlife Service; Rep. Markey Seeks Explanation