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Agitate, America!: Answering TransCanada; the Keystone XL pipeline
By Nancy Churchill
A Progressive Visionary
“TransCanada has one of the best safety records in the entire industry,” claims James Millar of TransCanada, responding to Dave Davis’ column published the previous week (The Rock River Times, Aug. 21-27, 2013).
Well, Mr. Millar, if that’s true, the entire industry is in trouble. Former TransCanada pipeline engineer Evan Vokes, testifying before the Canadian Senate, said he tried to get the word out for years (before he was fired) “that code is not being followed in the pipeline’s construction, and that when that happens, a pipeline cannot be safe for crude oil or tar sands” (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/17067-transcanadas-kxl-the-safest-pipeline-ever-says-who). Inspection failures don’t create stellar safety records, they obscure inferior ones.
Millar next details how TransCanada is “well positioned to help North America transition to a low-carbon energy future.” Fine. Let TransCanada stick to that noble agenda and abandon the unacceptable pipeline.
Instead, he argues that since “the United States still requires millions of barrels of oil a day and will for the foreseeable future,” the Keystone XL pipeline is needed to meet that demand. Nice try! The first statement is not a lie, but Millar knows all too well that the oil in the pipeline is destined for export, not for use in the U.S. This, I’m guessing, is why he’s intentionally misleading us (http://priceofoil.org/2011/08/31/report-exporting-energy-security-keystone-xl-exposed).
Millar then tries to bring the hammer down on climate change scientist James Hansen by misquoting two colleagues. He first cherry-picks from Harvard University’s David Keith, in italics: “I’m of two minds. The extreme statements — that this is ‘game over’ for the planet — are clearly not intellectually true, but I am completely against Keystone, both as an Albertan and somebody who cares about the climate” (http://www.nature.com/news/climate-science-a-line-in-the-sands-1.13515).
Finally, he picks on Ken Caldeira, “a climate researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, [who] said, ‘I don’t believe that whether the pipeline is built or not will have any detectable climate effect.’”
Not exactly, Mr. Millar. “Climatologist Ken Caldeira has a message for deniers who misrepresent his views on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline,” writes Joe Romm in an online article dated Sept. 26, 2013, (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/09/26/2684021/ken-caldeira-keystone-xl-climate-action). Romm quotes Caldeira: “Building Keystone XL will mean that Obama is not serious about transitioning to a near-zero emission energy system, and that could have huge and easily detectable consequences for global climate.” Seems Caldeira agrees with Dave Davis.
OK, Millar is only doing his job. It’s what hirelings do for corporate masters whose only function is creating profit, hang the cost. But the American people have said “no” to the Keystone XL pipeline that will risk our land, water and planet. TransCanada should abandon the pipeline and return to helping North America “transition to a low-carbon energy future.”
Nancy Churchill was raised in the D.R.C. (Congo), raced stock cars on short dirt tracks for 25 years, and is a proud, lifelong member of “We, the People.” She lives in Oregon, Ill.
From the Oct. 2-8, 2013, issue