Environmentalists step up campaign against Keystone XL pipeline
More than 75 environmental and conservation groups have signed a petition calling on the U.S. and Canadian governments to halt all oil sands projects that would result in the creation of new tailing ponds, which hold the waste of oil sands production.
The petition — signed by a slew of environmental groups in the U.S. and Canada like the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace — appears to target a massive proposed pipeline project that would run from Alberta, Canada to Texas. Environmental groups have mounted a campaign to stop the project, known as Keystone XL.
The petition reads:
We are calling, with one voice, for the Alberta and the Federal government to address the growing and at times deadly impacts tar sands tailing lakes have by immediately denying all proposals that would require the creation of new tailings lakes and by legislating the complete phase out of existing tailings lakes because of the on-going and potential danger they pose to bird, animal, plant, aquatic and human populations.
More than 350 birds that landed on a Canadian tar sands pond were found dead last week. In a blog post on the issue, NRDC’s Susan Casey-Lefkowitz wrote:
The tar sands tailings ponds are one of the most dangerous and absurd facets of this industry. Dangerous because tailings ponds are some of the largest dams in the world, constructed for the toxic waste that remains after strip-mining the tarry bitumen from the sand that lies deep under Alberta’s Boreal forests and wetlands. Absurd because the tar sands oil industry is wasting precious natural resources and migratory bird habitat for waste storage.
The State Department is currently in the midst of a review of the Keystone XL proposal. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking in San Fransisco last week, suggested that the State Department would eventually approve the project, though her comments were a bit unclear.
Environmental leaders and lawmakers from the states through which the pipeline would run have pounced on the comments. Eleven Senate Democrats sent a letter to Clinton last week calling on her not to “prejudge” the outcome of the State Department review. And just yesterday, the heads of seven major environmental groups called on Clinton to “recuse” herself from the pipeline review, citing her comments on the project.