Tag Archive for 'keystone xl pipeline'

The Alberta Oil Sands Have Been Leaking for 9 Weeks

Photo retrieved from: www.motherjones.com

“The sites are located in a remote area which has restricted access to the public. The emulsion is being effectively cleaned up with manageable environmental impact. Canadian Natural has existing groundwater monitoring in place and we are undertaking aquatic and sediment sampling to monitor and mitigate any potential impacts. As part of our wildlife mitigation program, wildlife deterrents have been deployed in the area to protect wildlife…We are investigating the likely cause of the occurrence, which we believe to be mechanical.”

The Primrose bitumen emulsion site, where the leak occurred, sits about halfway up Alberta’s eastern border and pulls about 100,000 barrels of bitumen—a thick, heavy tar that can be refined into petroleum—out of the ground every day. But unlike the tar sand mines that have scarred the landscape of northern Alberta and added fuel to the Keystone XL controversy, the Primrose site injects millions of gallons of pressurized steam hundreds of feet into the ground to heat and loosen the heavy, viscous tar, and then pumps it out, using a process called cyclic steam stimulation (CSS). Eighty percent of the bitumen that can currently be extracted is only accessible through steam extraction. (CSS is one of a few methods of steam extraction.) Although steam extraction has been touted as more environmentally friendly, it has also been shown to release more CO2 than its savage-looking cousin.

There have been accidents before with steam injection mining. At another kind of steam injection site, the high pressure at which the steam is injected exceeded what the terrain could bear and blasted wild-looking craters, hundreds of feet wide, into the landscape.”

Read more: Mother Jones


Protesters Call On Obama To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

Photo retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk

“Tens of thousands of protesters turned out on the National Mall Sunday to encourage President Obama to make good on his commitment to act on climate change.

In his Inaugural address from outside the U.S. Capitol, the president said: “We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

Just a few weeks later, next to the Washington Monument, Paul Birkeland was one of a couple dozen people holding a long white tube above their heads.

“It’s a backbone. It’s a spine. The idea is to ask the president to have some spine and stand up to oil companies. And reject the Keystone Pipeline,” Birkeland says.

The activists are focusing on the Keystone XL pipeline because it would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. To make this oil, companies use complex extraction and processing techniques that use a lot of energy. So it has a larger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional crude.”

Read more: NPR


What ‘National Interests’ Led Obama To Oppose The Keystone XL Pipeline?

Photo retrieved from: www.treehugger.com

“The Obama Administration is opposed to to the Keystone XL Pipeline project; by now we’ve heard the breaking news. Now, what’s next?

First of all, the Administration decision does not mean the project is dead. Keystone XL certainly can come back with changes to the routing, with improved safety measures for both construction and operating phases, with more mitigation measures for unavoidable adverse environmental and economic impacts, and so on. In fact, count on it.

International Trade, Economics May Be More Behind Decision Than Environment & Party Politics
One national interest framing the debate is maintaining a favorable trade relationship with Canada, from which the XL pipeline and contents will both originate from and flow back to—a double line is proposed, with petroleum-distillate pumped back to Alberta, where it will dilute the viscous oil, allowing it to be pumped in winter.”

Read more: Treehugger


Federal Water Tap, August 29: Tar Sands and Shale Gas

Photo retrieved from: www.tcktcktck.org

Few Significant Impacts
The State Department concluded its environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The department’s preferred option is to build the pipeline, with a few variations and minor route changes.

Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones, who took questions from reporters, was adamant that the State Department’s recommendation was “not the rubberstamp for this project.” A 90-day consultation period now begins. The department, with a few opportunities for public input, will discuss with other government agencies whether the project is in the national interest. President Obama will make the ultimate decision.

In an attempt to move official opinion, a group of pipeline opponents is staging daily protests until September 3 outside the White House gates. On the first day, some 70 protestors, including environmental writer Bill McKibben, were arrested.

A Little More Than a Rounding Error
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new assessment of natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale, estimating that the rock formation underlying much of the mid-Atlantic U.S. contains 84 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of technically recoverable natural gas. That number, which does not consider the economic feasibility, is the mean value in a range of estimates. There is a 95 percent probability that the formation contains at least 43 TCF, and a 5 percent probability that it contains at least 144 TCF.

The previous assessment of the Marcellus Shale by the USGS, done in 2002, pegged technically recoverable natural gas reserves at 2 TCF. Technological improvements in the subsequent decade have led to the upward revision.

But as the New York Times points out, the estimate from the USGS is substantially lower than the Energy Information Administration’s estimate of 410 TCF, which was released earlier this year. The NYT says this calls into question the methods the EIA uses to calculate gas reserves and its use of consultants with industry ties.”

Read more: Circle of Blue