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While America Spars Over Keystone XL, A Vast Network Of Pipelines Is Quietly Being Approved

The article is posted below the following observation from a SAFE Volunteer:

Latest on the pipeline situation, including the one going from Patoka to the Ohio River that will carry the extremely toxic tar sands crude. Please take time in the section talking about the Flanagan South pipeline to note the description of the “piecemeal” process used that denies citizens the right to timely information during the EPA approval process.

I am surprised this article/map does not show the Enbridge pipeline running through Michigan and Indiana that is being expanded and people’s property is being ruined all along the route — this is the same one that caused the disaster in Kalamazoo that to this day is causing severe health problems and has not been cleaned up, after 3 years.

The thing is, we know there will be spills and breaks, and it is now well known that the tar sands crude, combined with the dilutents that make it flow through the pipes, is extremely toxic and cannot be breathed by first responders without them suffering bad health effects. Note that the young man who drove around Mayflower, Arkansas, to take photos while the oil was running down the street, is now having health problems. You just cannot get near the stuff. And that old line from Louisiana that used to bring natural gas up to Patoka, is now going to carry this stuff straight through the Shawnee.

Here is the article:

on March 20, 2014 at 10:58 am


While America Spars Over Keystone XL, A Vast Network Of Pipelines Is Quietly Being Approved

After countless marches, arrests, Congressional votes, and editorials, the five-and-a-half year battle over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is nearing its end. If a recent ruling in Nebraska doesn’t delay the decision further, America could find out as soon as this spring whether or not the pipeline, which has become a focal point in America’s environmental movement, will be built.

But while critics and proponents of Keystone XL have sparred over the last few years, numerous pipelines — many of them slated to carry the same Canadian tar sands crude as Keystone — have been proposed, permitted, and even seen construction begin in the U.S. and Canada. Some rival Keystone XL in size and capacity; others, when linked up with existing and planned pipelines, would carry more oil than the 1,179-mile pipeline.

With the public eye turned on Keystone, some of these pipelines have faced little opposition. But it’s not just new pipelines that worry Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust. Weimer said companies are beginning to revamp old pipelines by expanding their capacity or reversing their flow, changes that can be troubling if proper safety measures aren’t put in place.Some of these pipelines have been in the ground for 40, 50, 60 years … before pipelines had the latest and greatest coatings or before the welding was up to snuff

“Some of these pipelines have been in the ground for 40, 50, 60 years, so they were put in the ground before pipelines had the latest and greatest coatings or before the welding was up to snuff,” he said. “So there’s lots of issues about how you verify that the pipe that’s been in the ground that long is really up to additional pressures.”

Weimer said that while Keystone has served as a distraction from these other pipelines, it’s also increased the public’s awareness of the dangers of transporting tar sands crude. But post-Keystone decision, he said, he’s not sure whether that interest will wane, or whether activists will pick right back up where they left off on Keystone and tackle other pipeline proposals.

“It could go either way,” he said. “It could be that people put so much energy into Keystone that if it gets approved it might take the wind out of everybody’s sails, and they’ll figure ‘what’s the point,’ or it might be that there’s a lot more people that are interested and will continue on with all these other ones.”

America will have to wait for the White House’s decision on Keystone XL to find out. Meanwhile, here are ten other pipelines — projects that haven’t been waylayed by international approval processes or political skirmishes — you should know about.

Eastern Gulf Crude Access


CREDIT: Andrew Breiner

If approved, the Eastern Gulf Crude Access pipeline would carry oil from the Bakken region and Alberta’s tar sands from Patoka, Illinois about 770 miles to Boyce, Louisiana. Like many other pipeline projects, the Eastern Gulf Crude Access is part construction, part restructuring — the proposal would re-purpose 574 miles of existing natural gas pipeline to carry oil, and construct 40 miles of new pipeline at the beginning of the line’s route, from Patoka to Johnsonville, Illinois.

The companies in charge of the project — Enbridge and Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas, Texas — originally wanted it to go to St. James, Louisiana, but didn’t gain enough customer support to build that leg of the pipeline.

Flanagan South


CREDIT: Enbridge

Flanagan South, an Enbridge project, is already in the works, and once constructed will carry tar sands and Bakken crude 589 miles from Flanagan, Illinois to Cushing, Oklahoma. The pipeline, which workers began constructing last fall, will run alongside the existing Spearhead Pipeline, which carries about 173,000 barrels of Canadian oil each day. Flanagan’s initial capacity will be 600,000 barrels of oil from Canada, North Dakota and Montana per day — by comparison, Keystone XL will be 1,179 miles in its entirety and have a capacity of 830,000 barrels per day.

The pipeline was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers using a permit called NWP 12, a tactic that has resulted in lawsuits from the Sierra Club, who say it allows the Corps to “piecemeal” the pipeline project into separate water crossings, making it easier to approve. Doug Hayes, staff attorney for the Sierra Club, said he thinks the NWP 12 process doesn’t provide citizens along the pipeline route adequate opportunity to voice their opinions on the pipeline, resulting in a dearth of public knowledge about Flanagan South.

“When we were talking to people along the pipeline route, many of them were surprised and shocked to learn that there was this major tar sands pipeline being approved without any public involvement whatsoever in their backyards,” Hayes said. “So no, there was not adequate public awareness of this. There still isn’t.”

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