Texas landowner Mike Bishop went to court and got an injunction against TransCanada to prevent them from building the Keystone XL pipeline across his land. The injunction was temporary and would have lasted until the day of a hearing to determine if the pipeline put his land at undue risk. Rather than wait for the hearing on December 19, TransCanada worked to get the injunction lifted last Thursday.
TransCanada’s defense seems to be that tar sands oil is no more poisonous than regular crude oil. I think they’re sidestepping the complaint most people have about tar sands oil.
On one level, they’re right. Drinking a cup of tar sands oil will kill you about as quickly as drinking a cup of West Texas light, and probably no faster. (Don’t try that at home!)
However, the difference lies in the way oil spills are cleaned up. Crude oil typically floats on the surface of water and can be washed off solid objects it comes into contact with. It takes a lot of effort and expertise, but years of experience with oil spills have created a small industry of people and companies who work to take care of oil spills.
Tar sands oil is stickier and heavier than regular crude. It sinks to the bottom of water bodies and is difficult to remove from solid surfaces. The Kalamazoo, Michigan spill is a good example. Two years later and it still hasn’t been cleaned up. TransCanada has a history of leaky pipelines, so it’s only a matter of time before sticky tar sands oil pollutes lands along the Keystone XL pipeline.
Block on Keystone pipeline lifted in Texas (via AFP)
A Texas court has lifted a temporary restraining order on construction of a small portion of the controversial Keystone pipeline, operator TransCanada said Thursday. Landowner Michael Bishop sought the injunction out of concern that the Canadian tar sand oil that will eventually be transported by the…
Trans Alaska oil pipeline photo via Shutterstock