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Press Resource: Startup of Keystone XL Pipeline Southern Leg

“As Nebraskans fight Keystone XL, we stand with Texas and Oklahoma farmers and ranchers facing a direct threat to their livelihoods. Pres. Obama made the wrong decision to fast-track this export pipeline and citizens will keep TransCanada accountable for every leak, spill and tragedy on families’ land and water in the face of the President’s stated goal to lead by example in order to slow global climate change.” —Bold Nebraska director Jane Kleeb

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(A dug up section of Keystone XL southern leg pipe, one of hundreds of ‘anomalies’ found.)

For Immediate Release: 

January 22, 2014

Contact: Rachel Wolf
202.331.2120

As TransCanada Starts Up Gulf Coast Pipeline, Families Look to President Obama to Mitigate Keystone XL Risks

As TransCanada’s Gulf Coast pipeline goes into operation today, the All Risk, No Reward Coalition Chair and landowner Randy Thompson released the following statement:

“We stand in solidarity with the families along TransCanada’s Gulf Coast export pipeline, who now must live with the risks of tar sands flowing through their backyards. We can only hope that they stay healthy and safe, and that the President takes it upon himself to spare families along the Keystone XL route the same fate.

“The hasty decision to fast-track this pipeline and subject Texas and Oklahoma landowners to these risks was misguided. We have confidence that President Obama will honor his commitment to climate and American communities by rejecting Keystone XL and stopping tar sands at the Canadian border.

“The risks of transporting dangerous tar sands and chemicals like benzene through the country’s largest source of freshwater and across miles of family farms are far too great, given that the pipeline is not in our national interest. Keystone XL is an export pipeline that would prioritize Big Oil profits over American interests, and fly in the face of the President’s stated goal to lead by example in order to slow global climate change.” —Randy Thompson, chairman of All Risk No Reward Coalition

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Texas Pipeline Watch to Monitor TransCanada’s Tar Sands Pipeline “Like a Hawk”

As TransCanada starts operations on its Gulf Coast Pipeline (aka the southern segment of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline), communities along the pipeline route launched Texas Pipeline Watch to arm landowners and citizens with cameras to document every spill, leak, and disturbance along the risky pipeline.

  • Citizens and landowners have long had a strong network with each other, which has included:
  • Investigating pipeline anomalies. Along one 250 mile stretch, there were 125 excavations to repair potential problems. Along one stretch of the pipeline, 48% of the welds were considered adequate.
  • Meeting with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to discuss anomalies along the pipeline route.
  • Circulating an online letter to the Attorney General for citizens to ask him to intervene, and to ensure that all first responders have been informed about the chemical contents that are coming through the pipeline so that they can adequately prepare.
  • Documenting new construction that happened over the weekend, where the pipeline was dug up and construction workers placed new sensors on it.

Quotes:

Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska Executive Director: “As Nebraskans fight Keystone XL, we stand with Texas and Oklahoma farmers and ranchers facing a direct threat to their livelihoods. Pres. Obama made the wrong decision to fast-track this export pipeline and citizens will keep TransCanada accountable for every leak, spill and tragedy on families’ land and water.”

Julia Trigg Crawford, Texas landowner along pipeline route: “No foreign corporation building a for-profit pipeline should be able to take any American’s land, and the Texas Supreme Court’s recent decision on our case signals they believe the issues merit a more thorough review.

“Meanwhile, backhoes and construction crews arrived last week, and laid bare the pipeline in two places at the nearby valve station, attaching new sensors and wires to the pipe before covering it up and disappearing as quickly as they arrived.  And we’re supposed to trust TransCanada and PHMSA that this pipeline is ready to start?  Unsurprisingly, we don’t.”

Kathy DaSilva, Texas advocate: “In our state, citizens and landowners continue to push back against this unwanted pipeline.  A Texas coalition recently attended a meeting held at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the agency charged with the oversight on pipeline projects in our 5-state area.  In September PHMSA sent warning letters to TransCanada concerning code violations committed in the construction phase of the KXL southern leg, but the agency has no plan to follow up to see if these violations have been corrected.  In their words, they have “faith” that the pipeline is now safe and ready for start-up.  We have faith that this pipeline is inadequate and is ready to leak.”

Tom Smith, Texas Public Citizen Director: “This pipeline is all risk and no reward for Texans. It crosses 631 water bodies, and if it leaks could damage water supplies for millions of Texans. The federal pipeline regulator has failed to require trans Canada to-retest the pipeline after they were required to make hundreds of repairs to make sure that the repairs worked and give trans Canada’s history its likely to leak. This pipeline won’t offer and reward to Texas; observers in north east Texas report that most of workers trucks in on the pipeline were from out of state, leading us to question how many local jobs were really created.”

Bryan Parra, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services Youth Coordinator: “On Wednesday, January 22, the Southern Leg of Keystone XL will begin to flow with the dirtiest of fossil fuels, bringing more toxic insults to low-income communities of color that already overburdened with disproportionate health impacts.  Yet this pipeline that was fast-tracked by the Obama Administration will bring even more emissions of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and fine particulate matter to our neighborhoods.  Communities living at the tail end of the pipeline remain committed to fight, and stand in solidarity with all impacted communities against the extraction, transmission and refining of tar sands.”

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