New spill reveals how horrible Keystone could be

Unsure what to think of Keystone pipeline? Check out this video of a shorter pipeline leaking oil all over a street

Published April 1, 2013 7:12PM (EDT)

Emergency crews work to clean up an oil spill near Interstate 40 in Mayflower, Arkansas March 31, 2013.     (Reuters/Jacob Slaton)
Emergency crews work to clean up an oil spill near Interstate 40 in Mayflower, Arkansas March 31, 2013. (Reuters/Jacob Slaton)

The Keystone XL pipeline was already a bad idea three days ago. It is a terrible idea today.

This weekend, the Orwellian-named Exxon Pegasus pipeline spilled thousands of barrels of oil into a residential neighborhood in Mayflower, Ark. Twenty-two families were evacuated from their homes, and cleanup, days later, continues. Check out this appalling video of crude oil leaking into the streets of this everyday American community:

The oil is the same heavy crude from tar sands that oil companies behind the Keystone XL pipeline want to extract. In fact, the only difference between the Pegasus pipeline that leaked and the proposed Keystone XL? The proposed Keystone XL is longer --- over 300 miles longer than the pipeline that leaked in Arkansas on Friday. That means the Keystone XL pipeline is even more likely to leak. Not exactly a comforting prospect.

This just adds to the mounting evidence against the Keystone XL. Specifically:

  • Keystone XL would not reduce foreign oil dependency. In fact, according to its own presentation to investors, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline is quite clear most if not all of the extracted tar sands oil would be sent to oversees markets (where oil fetches a higher price).
  • Keystone XL would increase domestic oil prices. Again, this comes not from environmental activists but the Keystone XL pipeline company itself. According to documents produced by TransCanada, the company notes that because new pipeline capacity would allow Midwestern oil reserves to be drained and shipped, the Keystone XL pipeline would have the effect of increasing domestic oil prices in the United States, especially in the Midwest.
  • Keystone XL would not create nearly as many jobs as promised. In its early applications for permits, TransCanada said the Keystone XL pipeline would create about 3,500 to 4,200 temporary construction jobs. After all, once the pipeline is built there’s not much work to be done except for cleaning up spills. But when the pipeline hit political roadblocks, TransCanada increased the number of jobs the project would supposedly create to over 20,000 — a number frequently repeated by supporters of the pipeline project. But PolitiFact found these assertions were false. TransCanada is simply inflating the numbers to try and sway public opinion and political support.
  • All this and the Keystone XL pipeline would likely leak, too. After all, the existing Keystone pipeline that would be expanded already leaked 12 times in just its first year of operation alone. Sounds worth expanding, huh?

Maybe you’re like Sean Hannity and think climate change is “the biggest scientific fraud in our lifetimes.” And maybe you also think kittens can really fly. Yet even if you disagree with 97 percent of the world’s scientists that climate change is real, even if you’re not worried about the unprecedented carbon dump that would result from expanding tar sands extraction, even if you’re not worried about the prospect of an oil spill near a major aquifer that supplies water to 2 million people in the Midwest --- you should still be opposed to the pipeline of lies that would exploit American land for the sole benefit of oil company profits.

The fraudulent arguments for the Keystone XL pipeline continue to leak out. And leaks are toxic. Just ask those families in Arkansas.

By Sally Kohn

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Arkansas Environment Environmentalism Keystone Xl Pipeline Sean Hannity Transcanada Video