TransCanada, a Canadian company, wants to build a 36-inch pipeline to carry up to 37.8 million gallons daily of dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and on to the Texas Gulf Coast.
No permit for TransCanada's Keystone XL
President Barack Obama denied a permit application January 18, 2012 for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, citing Congressional legislation preventing a "full assessment of the pipeline's impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment."
- Dakota Resource Council statement
- Dakota Rural Action news release
- Northern Plains Pipeline Landowners Group news release
News coverage of landowner reactions
- Mixed opinions on Obama decision to deny Keystone XL pipeline permit, Billings Gazette
- MT Landowner Doing a 'Happy Dance' Over Keystone XL Decision, Public News Service-MT
- Keystone XL pipeline reaction follows party line, Sioux Falls Argus Leader
New York Times opposes Keystone XL
"From all of the evidence, Keystone XL is not only environmentally risky, it is unnecessary."
WORC statement on Exxon pipeline oil spill in Yellowstone River
The 42,000 gallon Exxon oil spill in the Yellowstone River hits close to home, just a short distance from the WORC office in Billings. Go to statement.
- Broken Exxon pipeline may have carried tar sands oil, Reuters
- Map of 11 of the 12 Keystone I tar sands oil pipeline spills
- Independent study says Keystone XL pipeline could spill big time
- Open letter to Gov.: Keystone XL pipeline must be done right, commentary by members of the Northern Plains Pipeline Landowners Group in the Great Falls Tribune
- Photographs of the oil spill by the Billings Gazette
Conservation community - hold Exxon, government agencies accountable in Yellowstone cleanup
August 1 marked one month since the ExxonMobil Silvertip oil pipeline burst beneath the flooding Yellowstone River. At a media conference Monday morning, across from the still-closed Norm’s Island, Billings resident Mary Fitzpatrick represented nine Billings-area conservation groups in outlining a dozen recommendations they want Exxon and state and federal agencies to take during and after the continued cleanup and the prevention of future oil spills. See news release and recommendations. Watch six-minute video of news conference.
Pipeline Problems: New Tar Sands Oil Products Increase Likelihood of Spill
A new report highlights the elevated risk of pipeline spills from new corrosive oil products being increasingly delivered to the United States.
The report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Pipeline Safety Trust, National Wildlife Federation, and Sierra Club, Tar Sands Pipeline Safety Risks, shines a spotlight on diluted bitumen, which is a raw form of tar sands oil that is significantly more acidic and corrosive than standard oil and requires increased heat and pressure to move through pipelines.
These unique characteristics bring new liabilities to the integrity of the American oil pipeline system that is currently unprepared to handle this product, and new threats to the waterways and aquifers that cross paths with these pipelines.
Ad campaign targets Keystone XL
A series of ads challenging the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and the tar sands oil that it would carry began running on cable TV, radio, and the internet at the end of November.
You can check out the ads here.
Tar sands oil pipeline study is inadequate
In comments submitted to the Department of State, WORC renewed its call for a new draft or another supplemental environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline so affected landowners and others would have an opportunity to comment on the potential impacts of the project.
Inadequate Draft Environmental Impact Statement
In hearings and written comments, landowners in Montana, South Dakota, and other states along the proposed Keystone XL route argued that the environmental study by the Department of State does not adequately justify
- Construction of and need for the 1,300-mile long tar sands pipeline,
- Taking private land under threat of condemnation,
- Disruption of farming and ranching operations,
- Damage to roads,
- Damage and risk of contaminating water supplies, or
- Risk of leaks and spills on land and water resources.
The State Department's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) glosses over the need for the pipeline and fails to analyze reasonable alternatives. The recently completed Alberta Clipper and Keystone I pipelines offer more than enough capacity for the most optimistic projections of tar sands production for many years, if not indefinitely. The DEIS ignores this overcapacity and assumes the need for the pipeline as projected by TransCanada.
- WORC DEIS comments
- Dakota Rural Action DEIS comments
- Northern Plains Resource Council & Northern Plains Pipeline Landowners Group DEIS comments
- The Environmental Protection Agency agrees the study is inadequate,
John Podesta, President & CEO of the Center for American Progress, delivered a tough message in his speech on “The Dirty Truth about Tar Sands” during the Canada 2020 Washington, DC Oil Sands Symposium on the Greening of Oil Sands. “I’m skeptical about a ‘green vision’ for tar sands,” Podesta told the gathering.
TransCanada has withdrawn its request to the Department of Transportation for a waiver of standard limits on pressure for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The special permit would have enabled TransCanada to use thinner steel pipe for most of the pipeline in rural areas outside of what DOT calls "High Consequence Areas." TransCanada, however, could seek the waiver in the future.
See TransCanada's letter
A report by Plains Justice shows defective steel might have been used in an earlier TransCanada tar sands pipeline, Keystone I. Plains Justice asked DOT to investigate and reduce Keystone I's operating pressure until it can be fully tested.
Landowners and conservation groups want a say in TransCanada’s Emergency Response Plan, to avoid repeating mistakes made in the Gulf and Michigan oil spills.
In May 2009, landowners joined with steelworkers, environmentalists and tribes to warn that construction of three massive pipelines designed to carry dirty oil from the Alberta tar sands into the United States would threaten communities across the West and Midwest. The coalition urged DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration not approve the pipelines as proposed. Read news release.
The governors of Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska were asked to oppose special permit.
Letter to Governor Rounds (South Dakota) - Dakota Rural Action
Letter to Governor Schweitzer (Montana) - Northern Plains Resource Council
Letter to Governor Heinemann (Nebraska) - Landowners for Fairness
WORC comments on special permit
WORC, Dakota Resource Council, and Dakota Rural Action submitted joint comments on the scope of the Keystone XL pipeline Environmental Impact Statement. The Northern Plains Resource Council filed comments separately.