Press Release: Tar Sands Blockade Sends President Obama a Message


The Tar Sands Blockade Send Obama A Message: No Tar Sands, No Keystone XL Gulf Coast Segment in Texas, No Way.

Contact:  Ricardo Correa  in Austin July 17, 2012. Interviews available via phone anytime and in person starting at 2:30 outside City Hall

July 17, 2012, Austin, TX   

Tar Sands Blockade is gathering in Austin, Texas today to send President Obama a message: No Tar Sands, No TransCanada Keystone XL Gulf Coast Segment in Texas! Texans DO NOT want any toxic tar sands pipelines that will pollute our water, air and land and harm our health because when it comes to tar sands pipelines it’s not if it spills it’s when. Texans do not support the Gulf Coast Segment of the Keystone XL Pipeline. This segment remains key to the expansion of the Alberta tar sands and their delivery to Texas Gulf Coast refineries for processing and refining for export. Without Texas, TransCanada can’t get their tar sands to our refineries and tax free export zone ports.  Furthermore, this project meets the demands of the shippers and the refineries and their export market, not the declining U.S public demand for refined petroleum products. 

On January 18, 2012 President Obama denied the Presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline but vowed to build a pipeline from Cushing, OK to the Texas refineries.   “In the months ahead, we will continue to look for new ways to partner with the oil and gas industry to increase our energy security – including the potential development of an oil pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma. President Obama announced he wanted to expedite the ‘Gulf Coast Project’ earlier this year when he gave his ‘all of the above’ energy address in Cushing, Oklahoma on March 22, 2012.  “Now, right now, a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down on the Gulf Coast. And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.” 

On March 22, 2012, , the President issued a memorandum (EO Executive Order) directing federal agencies to accelerate the approval process for the Cushing pipeline — the Southern arm of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transfer oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf coast — as the top priority of the EONo matter what the President and TransCanada call it – this Zombie Pipeline it is still a tar sands pipeline. 

All of this resulted in the Army Corp of Engineers Galveston and Tulsa district offices essentially rubber stamping the Gulf Coast Segment without any environmental  review or opportunity for public intervention. The Ft Worth district decision deadline date is August 9, 2012. The permits for the pipeline’s construction are being automatically granted under the blanket Nationwide Permit 12 protocol, or NWP 12. The permits do not need an environmental impact statement to accompany them, according to this process. That very fact alone endangers more than 631 streams and wetlands that the pipeline will cross in our state. Not only that, but the entire Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which supplies drinking water for ten to 12 million homes across 60 counties in East Texas, along the pipeline’s path, is threatened with contamination from a spill. “Texas gets double dipped we get the risks of the pipeline spills and the increase in toxic pollution at the end of market refinery communities. So the Gulf Coast Segment deserves the same meaningful environmental review.

We call your attention to the following President Obama quotes that resonated with us shortly after the Presidents Inauguration in 2008: 

Change will not come if we wait for another person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek.”   February 5, 2008.

“The people of Texas want a big change – we want to undo President Obama’s decision to sacrifice our health and safety by rubber stamping the Gulf Coast segment of the Keystone XL pipeline.  It’s up to us to ensure this pipeline – and all the suffering it is sure to bring – is never built.” commented Ben Kessler, Tar Sands Blockade Member, who is also a member of Rising Tide North Texas and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and terrible storms devastate our lands   Berlin July 2002.

“Tar Sands Blockade Members from throughout Texas have gathered in Austin today because it is up to us to send President Obama a message that we intend to save Texas from the threats and risks tar sands pipelines and refining pose to Texans. Enbridge’s Kalamazoo Line 6B pipeline spilled over 1.1 million gallons of tar sands into Tallmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. This spill harmed water resources and people’s short and long term health due to exposure to benzene and other toxic and carcinogenic substances from the diluted bitumen (tar sands) spill. The spill resulted in the largest fine ever for the US’s largest on shore oil spill. An investigation by the NTSB   concluded that Enbridge ran its control room in Alberta, Canada like “Keystone Kops”. Texans do not want the legacy of a Kalamazoo tar sands spill.  Texans can live without tar sands but they can’t live without clean water, clean air and our health.  The Gulf Coast Segment remains as much a threat to the climate as the cross-border segment of the pipeline coming in from Canada does,” added   Ricardo Correa, Tar Sands Collective Member.





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