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“All Risk And No Reward”: Exxon Oil Spill In Arkansas Raises Concerns About Keystone XL Pipeline

Environmentalists and Nebraska farmers are upping the pressure on President Obama to reject the controversial Keystone XL pipeline following an oil spill that took place over the weekend.

The rupture occurred in central Arkansas, about 20 miles north of Little Rock, as Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline spilled thousands of barrels of Canadian tar sands oil — the same Alberta crude the Keystone pipeline would carry. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling it a “major spill” as officials from the EPA and Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) are currently conducting an onsite investigation while ExxonMobil continues its cleanup efforts.

The company said more than 12,000 barrels of oil and water, or 185,000 gallons, had been recovered by Sunday. Reports say the line gushed for 45 minutes before being stopped and 22 homes were evacuated.

The Arkansas accident was the second Canadian crude oil spill in less than a week, as last Wednesday a train derailed and leaked 30,000 gallons of crude in western Minnesota.

The 20-inch Pegasus pipeline runs from Illinois to Texas and carries 90,000 barrels of crude per day. TransCanada’s 36-inch Keystone XL Pipeline would stretch 1,179 miles from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, where it would connect with the pipeline system that would carry the tar sands oil to refineries in Texas along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

A Media Matters report states that “Keystone is all risk and no reward for America. The fact that Canadians don’t want Keystone built across their own country tells us everything we need to know about the risks.” The report cautions about TransCanada’s poor safety record, citing 12 oil spills in the first year of operation of another section of the Keystone pipeline. However, TransCanada promises that new technology from its Calgary control room can better monitor pipeline pressure and shut off a leak within 15 minutes. But environmentalists say the tar sands pipeline is more vulnerable to leaks because “the diluted bitumen, or dilbit, from the oil sands can separate under pressure or high temperature and create explosive natural gas, heavy compounds, and corrosive acids.”

In an interview about the Arkansas spill, Keystone XL opponent and founder of climate action group 350.org, Bill McKibben, said “the power of the fossil fuel industry in Washington is enormous. They have all the money. The only thing we can stack up on the other side is the power of movements. We’ve been building them as fast as we can. We’ve had the largest civil disobedience action in 30 years about anything, about this pipeline. We had 40,000 people on the Mall last month in D.C. in the largest climate rally ever. I don’t know if it’s going to be enough, but we’re fighting it as hard as we can.”

The president is expected to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by this summer.

 

By: Josh Marks, The National Memo, April 1, 2013

April 3, 2013 Posted by | Big Oil, Environment | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Enough Already”: Big Oil Lobbyist Lies About Industry Not Getting Subsidies

Just when you think you’ve heard it all from the fossil fuel industry, along comes American Petroleum Institute (API) chief executive Jack Gerard actually claiming on Tuesday that “the oil and gas industry gets no subsidies, zero, nothing.”

Gerard went on to argue that “we get cost-recovery benefits, much like other industries. You can go down the road of allowing economic activity, generating hundreds of billions to the government, or you can take the alternative route by trying to extract new revenue from industry by increasing their cost to do business. We not only pay our fair share, we pay more than our fair share.”

President Obama has proposed eliminating the $4 billion a year in subsidies and tax breaks to an industry that exceeded $100 billion in profits last year. These tax breaks for the oil and gas industry go all the way back to the 1920s and many argue should not be given to such a mature industry, and instead should be redirected to clean energy technologies of the future.

In addition to the $4 billion annual tax breaks, ThinkProgress reports that ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips pay well below the corporate tax rate of 35 percent, with ExxonMobil paying only a 13 percent tax rate in 2011.

Washington, D.C.-based API is the the largest U.S. trade association for the oil and gas industry and claims to represent 400 companies. API spent $8.6 million on lobbying in 2011 and in last year’s election cycle spent heavily on funding groups running political ads against Democrats and in support of Republicans.

Gerard, who is close to fellow Mormon Mitt Romney and would have wielded enormous influence in a Romney administration, epitomizes the Republican “drill, baby, drill” attitude that ignores the environmental, public health and climate consequences of pumping all that carbon into the atmosphere. With his latest comments, he is ignoring America’s long history of subsidizing Big Oil.

While Gerard, whose salary was $6.4 million in 2010, disengenously states that Big Oil doesn’t receive subsidies, API actually ran ads two years ago against the Obama administration’s proposal to end tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

 

By: Josh Marks, The National Memo, January 10, 2013

January 12, 2013 Posted by | Big Oil, Corporations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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