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Keystone XL Pipeline Notes: More Dangerous than Terrorists?

Pipelines kill or injure people more frequently on American soil (once a week) than Islamoterrorists. They definitely do more damage than a certain sensationalized and acquitted defendant in Florida (whose name I refuse to blog on charges of irrelevance to real public policy issues, Google juice be darned). One would hope Americans would thus offer more resistance to TransCanada as it pushes to build more deadly pipelines.

In Texas, TransCanada is replacing its gentler lawyers with more aggressive solicitors who slap surprise eminent domain lawsuits on landowners who thought they were negotiating in good faith. Note also that these good Texas folks are simply behaving rationally in the marketplace, looking at the risks of pipelines made apparent most recently by the Exxon-Silvertip spill in Montana's Yellowstone River, and deciding they don't want to bring that risk onto their land.

In a good summary of the dangers of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, Carrie La Seur points out that many Americans fail to understand how deeply personally such intrusion on their land impacts farmers and ranchers:

The thing that always strikes me in conversations with farmers about the tar-sands pipelines is their use of this phrase: "They're siting it across me." Not "across my land," but "across me," because out on the harsh, beautiful plains that so many take for granted, people identify with their land like they identify with their own bodies. Most Americans have no experience with this level of connectedness. It's something we've lost, and something many of us are trying to recover [Carrie Le Seur, "Keystone XL Pipeline Would Screw over Farmers, Threaten Aquifer," Grist, 2011.07.17].

TransCanada insists that its proposed Keystone XL route will have the least environmental impact since it takes the shortest route from Alberta to Nebraska. But then why didn't they apply that same rationale to the big inverted L they laid across Saskatchewan and the Dakotas? And why haven't they responded to the prickly question raised by Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska, who last October notes that the "shortest route" argument means Keystone XL would have even less environmental impact in the U.S. if TransCanada laid it alongside the current Keystone I pipeline?

The Keystone XL pipeline endangers life, liberty, and property. My neighbors in the Winfred Freedom Party get all bent out of shape over much smaller intrusions on their rights. Make some noise, people. Call your Congresspeople, tell them Keystone XL is bad for our country.


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