Map: See Where the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Would Funnel Filthy Tar Sands Map: See Where the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Would Funnel Filthy Tar Sands
The Planet

Map: See Where the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Would Funnel Filthy Tar Sands

by Ben Jervey

February 24, 2011

Visit Mother Jones to play with the informative, interactive map.

Earlier this month, 86 environmental groups sent a letter calling on the Obama Administration to reject the pipeline proposal. And just this week, NRDC, the Sierra Club, Pipeline Safety Trust, and the National Wildlife Federation released a report (PDF) showing that "by its nature raw tar sands oil or diluted bitumen is more corrosive and more likely to result in pipeline failures."

Tar sands crude oil pipeline companies may be putting America’s public safety at risk. Increasingly, pipelines transporting tar sands crude oil into the United States are carrying diluted bitumen or "DilBit"—a highly corrosive, acidic, and potentially unstable blend of thick raw bitumen and volatile natural gas liquid condensate—raising risks of spills and damage to communities along their paths. The impacts of tar sands production are well known. Tar sands extraction in Canada destroys Boreal forests and wetlands, causes high levels of greenhouse gas pollution, and leaves behind immense lakes of toxic waste. Less well understood, however, is the increased risk and potential harm that can be caused by transporting the raw form of tar sands oil (bitumen) through pipelines to refineries in the United States.

To learn some more about the tar sands, this NRDC Stop Dirty Fuels page is a good place to start, and this old OnEarth article and more recent Grist piece about the tar sands boom on the Northern Alberta region is riveting and terrifying.

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
Some recent articles by Ben Jervey:
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Map: See Where the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Would Funnel Filthy Tar Sands