Just like last time and the time before, the Environmental Protection Agency has declared that the TransCanada-biased industry players who wrote the State Department's review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline didn't do their homework:
In a comment on the State Department’s draft environmental impact statement for the project, EPA said Foggy Bottom failed to fully consider alternative routes for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline.
EPA said the draft review “does not provide a detailed analysis of the Keystone Corridor Alternative routes, which would parallel the existing Keystone Pipeline and likely further reduce potential environmental impacts to groundwater resources” [Zack Colman, "EPA Balks at State's 'Insufficient' Review of Keystone XL Route," The Hill: E2 Wire, 2013.04.22].
Remember, the existing Keystone pipeline route runs through eastern South Dakota, from up between Britton and the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge down to Yankton. We might want to delay Keystone XL, but the more thorough review of alternatives EPA says is necessary could result in putting East River landowners through the TransCanada wringer again.
The EPA further dings State's report for giving insufficient attention to pipeline safety issues and the significant physical and chemical differences between the tar sands oil Keystone XL will transport and conventional oil, such as the fact that diluted bitumen from the tar sands sinks instead of floating like normal oil. The EPA recommends that the Keystone XL permit should include the following conditions:
- Requiring that the emergency response plan, as well as the contingency plans address submerged oil, as well as floating oil, including in a cold water response;
- Requiring pre-positioned response assets, including equipment that can address submerged oil;
- Requiring spill drills and exercises that include strategies and equipment deployment to address floating and submerged oil; and
- Requiring that emergency response and oil spill response plans be reviewed by EPA [Cynthia Giles, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance, letter to Department of State, 2013.04.22].
EPA does commend State's "comprehensive analysis" of the impact Keystone XL would have on minority, low-income, and tribal populations along the proposed route. EPA urges State to clearly document remedies for community and environmental justice concerns in the conditions for the pipeline permit.
Various tribes disagree that State has been so comprehensive in its review of Keystone XL's impact on their communities. The Ihanktonwan Oyate/Yankton Sioux General Council says the feds have failed to meaningfully engage them in the Keystone XL review process. The Yankton Sioux have passed a resolution vowing to join other indigenous peoples in the U.S. and Canada in fighting Keystone XL and other tar sands development.
Our Yankton Sioux neighbors could have a lot of help. Credo Mobile (the cell-phone branch of business-activist organization Working Assets) and the Rainforest Action Network are training 60,000 civil disobedience troops to stage over a thousand demonstrations to pressure President Obama to say no to Keystone XL:
[Credo political director Becky] Bond said Credo's push against the pipeline will consist of 1,000 demonstrations during the two-week period between the national interest determination report — likely due in September — and the date that the president could issue the cross-border permit.
“We think that escalation is critical at this point,” Bond said.
The actions will target corporate offices, the State Department and events held by Organizing for Action, the outside political group that spun off Obama’s reelection campaign and supports the president's agenda [Zack Colman, "Opponents of Keystone to Train 60K Activists in Civil Disobedience," The Hill: E2 Wire, 2013.04.22].
Remember, South Dakota neighbors: these protests aren't just environmental activism. They're also your best chance to get the President to put South Dakota property rights above the profit of foreign corporations. If you don't like foreigners controlling South Dakota, you should be all about protesting Keystone XL. Join your Indian and hippie neighbors (dare I call it the red-green coalition?) and tell the President to protect your property rights and your drinking water by nixing Keystone XL. 5 comments