American animals endangered by Keystone XL pipeline

This video from the USA says about itself:

Oct 18, 2011

A ten-minute film capturing the grassroots movement against the Keystone XL, a 1700-mile pipeline that would transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada across the United States for refinement and export on the Gulf Coast.

By Tim McDonnell in the USA:

These Endangered Animals Could be Besieged by Keystone XL

Tue Aug. 20, 2013 1:36 PM PDT

In its deliberations over the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department is taking flak not just from picket-sign-wielding environmentalists, but also from within the ranks of the Obama administration. This spring the EPA slammed an environmental review as “insufficient” and called for major revisions. And yesterday, Think Progress uncovered a letter from the Interior Department, dated from April, that outlines the many and varied ways in which the pipeline could wreak havoc to plants and animals (not to mention dinosaurs) along its proposed route.

The letter calls particular attention to a line in the State Department’s most recent environmental impact assessment that claims “the majority of the potential effects to wildlife resources are indirect, short term or negligible, limited in geographic extent, and associated with the construction phase of the proposed Project only.”

“This statement is inaccurate and should be revised,” the letter, signed by DOI Director of Environmental Policy and Compliance Willie Taylor, states. “Given that the project includes not only constructing a pipeline but also related infrastructure…impacts to wildlife are not just related to project construction. Impacts to wildlife from this infrastructure will occur throughout the life of the project.”

Which wildlife? The letter raises concerns that potential oil spills, drained water supplies, and bustling construction workers could cause a general disturbance, but identifies the critters below, some of which are endangered, for special attention:

Ross Goose

Ross’ Goose Wikimedia Commons

The Ross’ Goose depends on Nebraska’s Rainwater basin, which the pipeline would pass through, as a key migratory stopover. A spill in the basin could “severely impact critical habitat,” the letter says.

Black-footed ferret

Black-footed ferret Wikimedia Commons

Although the letter praises State Department plans to protect these endangered ferrets, it nonetheless raises concerns about the potential for infectious diseases from domestic pets at construction camps and worksites in Montana and South Dakota to spread to this population of less than 1,000 in the wild.

Sandhill crane

Sandhill crane Wikimedia Commons

Like the Ross’ Goose, the Sandhill crane depends on Nebraska’s Rainwater basin, which, according to the letter, could be severely impacted by an oil spill.

Least tern
Least tern Wikimedia Commons

Already endangered, least terns depend for nesting on plot of protected federal land just 40 miles downstream from where the pipeline will cross Nebraska’s Niobara River. Nests could fail, the letter warns, if construction activities cause fluctuations in the river’s water level.

Piping plover
Piping plover

Also endangered, the piping plover depends on the same nesting site as the least tern and faces the same threats.

Sprague's pipit
Sprague’s pipit

In 2010 the Fish & Wildlife Service found the tiny Sprague’s pipit qualified for endangered status, but hasn’t yet been able to officially list it because of higher-priority species. But the pipit breeds in Montana’s North Valley Grassland, which the pipeline would pass through, raising concerns about impact from a spill.

Pallid sturgeon
Pallid sturgeon Wikimedia commons

While not exactly the cutest on this list, Pallid sturgeons are also endangered; the letter raises concern that as water is withdrawn from the Platte River during the construction process, the fish and their eggs could suffocate. An assertion by the State Dept. that no plan is needed to mitigate damage to sturgeons, the letter says, “seems unsupported and requires further documentation.”

OCTOPUS pipeline project threatens top Chilean wetland for migratory and resident birds: here.

KEYSTONE PIPELINE LEAKS UNKNOWN AMOUNT OF OIL A pipeline that carries tar sands oil from Canada through seven states has leaked an unknown amount of crude oil over more than quarter-mile swath in northeastern North Dakota, state environmental regulators said. [AP]

20 thoughts on “American animals endangered by Keystone XL pipeline

  1. Dear friends,

    Right now, the US is deciding whether to approve a monster oil pipeline that would unleash devastating levels of carbon pollution from Canada’s dirty tar sands. The US State Department is holding a public comment process before the big decision, and insiders say they want a mandate to stand up to industry pressure. Let’s help by flooding the comment process with an overwhelming mandate to kill this carbon bomb — we only have days left:

    Right now, the US government is about to make the defining climate decision of Obama’s presidency — whether to approve a monstrous pipeline that will transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada across the US.

    If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will help pump billions of dollars into the pockets of a few companies… but also millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. It’s been called “a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet”. Bold public action has delayed it once, and a court ruling last week has dealt a serious blow to the project. Now, if we act fast and in massive numbers, we can help kill it for good.

    The US Secretary of State, responsible for the US’s relationship with the world, has opened a final round of comments from the public. He knows this decision is a vital litmus test for US global leadership to avert climate disaster. Let’s turn it into a truly global referendum by flooding the consultation with a million voices from every country calling on them to kill Keystone and take the leadership role they say they want in the fight to save the planet. We only have days until it closes – join here:

    Tar sands oil is the dirtiest dirty fossil fuel ever cooked up – releasing 3-4 times the global warming pollution of normal petrol! Last year, Obama said he?d let Keystone go ahead only if it was found to be in the US?s national interest and if it could be proven that it wouldn?t worsen the climate crisis for future generations. And Secretary of State Kerry, who made climate change one of his signature issues, wants to lead on the world stage, so he’ll be more sensitive to global opinion.

    Pipeline supporters say it will bring construction jobs and greater independence from petro-states. But Obama knows that the real jobs are in clean energy and that climate change is perhaps the greatest threat to US and global security there is.

    This isn’t just a battle we have to win — it’s one we are winning. Three years ago, this pipeline was a foregone conclusion. But then people-power swung into action — thousands of people got arrested at the largest act of civil disobedience in the US in decades, and Obama refused the initial proposal. Since then it?s become the defining environmental rallying call in the US — from people locking themselves to actual portions of pipe, to protests at Obama?s campaign offices, and a major legal victory last week.

    Let’s do our part now by collecting the most international comments EVER for a US government decision and give Secretary Kerry and President Obama the public cover they need to reject it:

    Wherever we are in the world — Alberta, Canada, where the pipeline would begin; the UK, still recovering from historic floods; Australia, just emerging from a summer ravaged by record fires, or any other country where extreme weather is taking its toll — we?re all downstream from climate change. If we stand together today, we can all be a part of a victory to stop this crazy pipeline and help build a strong climate movement.

    With hope,

    Pascal, David, Luis, Antonia, Emma, Patri, Wen, Ricken, and the Avaaz team


    Pressure is on Kerry as Keystone pipeline decision nears (Washington Post):

    Pipeline Fight Lifts Environmental Movement (New York Times):

    10 Reasons to Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline (The Huffington Post):

    Oil sands pollution two to three times higher than thought (Yahoo News):

    How Much Will Tar Sands Oil Add to Global Warming? (Scientific American):

    Foreign Company Tries To Seize U.S. Land For Keystone Pipeline (Forbes): is a 33-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


  2. The Senate may vote as early as this week to force the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and reports suggest it could come down to a few votes.

    Approving Keystone XL would open the floodgates of climate-killing tar sands crude flowing through the U.S. It would ensure more disastrous oil spills, threaten sources of drinking water for millions, disrupt wildlife, and increase rates of cancer and other health problems in Canada and in refinery communities here in the United States.

    Stop the Senate from approving Keystone XL!

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik


    Sierra Club – Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
    Dear Activist,

    Take action!

    Take action!

    The Senate may vote as early as this week to force the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and reports suggest it could come down to a few votes.

    We can’t let a group of senators in the pocket of Big Oil approve this pipeline. Send a message to your senators right now to tell them to say NO to KXL!

    Approving Keystone XL would open the floodgates of climate-killing tar sands crude flowing through the U.S. It would ensure more disastrous oil spills, threaten sources of drinking water for millions, disrupt wildlife, and increase rates of cancer and other health problems in Canada and in refinery communities here in the United States.

    Keystone XL is all risk and no reward.

    If you have any doubt who these pro-pipeline senators are working for, consider this: the senators who are supporting this bill have received $21 million in contributions from Big Oil. On average, each cosponsor of the bill has received roughly $375,000 from the oil industry.[1]

    Take a moment to remind your senators that our climate, our land, our water and our health are not for sale to Big Oil. Urge them to reject this attempt to hijack the review process and approve Keystone XL!

    Together, we’ve kept Keystone XL from being built for five years — keeping more than 200 million metric tons of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere to date. We’ve come too far to have Big Oil write a fat check and buy the approval of this dirty tar sands pipeline from the U.S. Senate.

    It’s important that your senators hear from you right now. Take a minute right now to stop the approval of Keystone XL.

    Thank you for all you do for the environment,

    Michael Marx
    Sierra Club Beyond Oil Campaign Director

    [1] Oil Change International, Oil money behind Keystone XL Senate bill breaks 20 million dollars, May 1, 2014


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  5. Climate change is an unprecedented planetary emergency. If we don’t act aggressively now to combat it, there will be major and painful consequences in store later: rising oceans that inundate coastal areas, bigger superstorms like Hurricane Sandy, worsening droughts, out-of-control wildfires, historic floods that come year after year, rising food prices, and millions of people displaced by climate disasters. It’s not a future any of us wants to imagine.

    But despite how difficult the problem is, the basics of how we should respond to it are actually not that complicated: we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and move to 100 percent renewable energy — and we need to act immediately.

    That’s why I cannot understand why some Democratic presidential candidates have refused to take a stand against the Keystone XL pipeline. Keystone XL would transport millions of gallons of some of the dirtiest oil on the planet — oil that scientists tell us we simply cannot burn if we want to stop the worst impacts of climate change. As former NASA scientist James Hansen has said, building Keystone XL would mean “game over” for the climate.

    A decision on Keystone XL could come at any moment, and that’s why it’s so important you make your voice heard through our campaign today:

    Sign my petition if you agree that we cannot move forward with Keystone XL if we’re serious about fighting climate change.

    It’s no big surprise that in recent years, most major Republican politicians have chosen to deny that climate change even exists. Republicans in Congress have collectively received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests who directly profit from stonewalling action on climate, at the expense of the climate and of humanity. Politicians who deny climate change is real, despite an overwhelming scientific consensus, are as morally bankrupt as those who helped Big Tobacco conceal the truth about the health effects of smoking, evading responsibility for years.

    But in some ways, it’s even more disappointing to see Democratic politicians, who understand that climate change is real and profess to care about action on climate, equivocate on an issue as clear-cut as Keystone XL.

    A study released by the scientific journal Nature just a few months ago found that if we want to keep global warming below the internationally agreed-upon safe upper limit of two degrees Celsius, we need to reduce all production of the Canadian tar sands — the kind of oil that Keystone XL would transport — to “negligible” levels. In other words, there is simply no scenario where we can address climate change in a real way and also allow this pipeline to go forward.

    Add your name to mine if you agree that we cannot move forward with Keystone XL if we’re serious about fighting climate change.

    Stopping the Keystone XL pipeline is not the only thing we must do to address climate change. Ultimately, we need to leave all fossil fuels in the ground and move to a 100 percent renewable energy economy.

    That’s why I also oppose oil drilling in the Arctic, support the fossil fuel divestment movement, and have sponsored legislation in Congress to bring solar energy to ten million rooftops in America. As a result of these positions, and my long record in support of the environment, I was recently honored to receive the endorsement of Friends of the Earth.

    To win the important environmental victories we so urgently need, it will take a coordinated grassroots movement fighting to take our country and our climate back from the fossil fuel industry billionaires. It was a grassroots movement — of Nebraska ranchers, Native American communities, and climate change activists — that managed to hold off Keystone XL for years, despite the conventional wisdom that the pipeline was a done deal. I’m proud to have stood with those activists in their fight from the very beginning.

    Sign my petition: we cannot move forward with Keystone XL if we’re serious about fighting climate change.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders


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