Monday, July 06, 2009

The dirt on oil sands, and what Secretary Clinton can do to help our environment

Something that is sort of slipping through the cracks in the news these days, is this story about the Alberta Clipper Pipeline. It is an environmental issue that tens of thousands of Americans have contacted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over in the past week. These activists are urging the Secretary to deny permits for a series of pipelines designed to bring dirty tar sands oil into the United States from Canada.

According to international environmental groups hub website,, the Alberta Clipper Pipeline could move forward in the next few weeks, unless the State Department denies its permit.

So what are the dangers of the Alberta Clipper pipeline, and others like this? says that "the Alberta Clipper is a part of a massive super project that would bring enormous amounts of dirty tar sands oil into the United States via a web of thousands of miles of pipeline. Producing oil from tar sands emits three to five times as much global warming pollution as conventional oil, requires excessive amounts of energy and fresh water, and destroys huge swaths of the best carbon protector on the planet, the boreal forest." also states that, "The tar sands project threatens the Great Lakes and would crisscross the Northern Plains and Native American reservations. Proposed pipelines would run through the Dakotas, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. Farmers, ranchers, tribes and Midwestern landowners have all opposed the pipelines, citing risks of oil spills and water and air pollution."

This environmental group has ran newspaper ads, and sent emails asking citizens to weigh in on the issue. It's reported that over 18,000 people have already written Hillary.

Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope said this on the issue, "Tar sands oil will lock us into a dirty energy infrastructure for decades to come. Tens of thousands of Americans have sent a clear message to Secretary Clinton that tar sands oil is not in our national interest."

From what I have read on the website and through other articles on the subject, there has been no national review of the full scope of this project or long-term impacts of creating a permanent continental-wide infrastructure to accept Canada's dirty oil sands. Instead, the decision has been left to local jurisdictions to review, pipeline by pipeline, refinery by refinery, permit by permit.

However, because of a dubious obscure executive order issued by Lyndon Johnson, the Secretary of State is the only one who can approve this pipeline if she finds that it is in the national interest. However, from what it seems, it’s in no one's interest. And from what I hope, she will not grant a permit.

Secretary Clinton is due to take a look at the entire project sometime this week. If you want to tell Secretary Clinton that the Alberta Clipper dirty oil sands pipeline is not in the U.S. national interest, click here!

To read up a bit more on this issue, see the following links:

Pipelines are Forever: Why We Delivered the World’s Dirtiest Oil to Secretary Clinton

Clinton asked to keep Canada sands oil out of U.S.

Hillary Clinton could make or break U.S. dependence on the tar sands

Dirty Oil Sands: The Dirt

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