Last week the State Department quietly posted documents revealing that it is allowing Canadian pipeline company Enbridge to move ahead with a shady and illegal pipeline expansion project that could nearly double the amount of tar sands crude pumped into the U.S. through its Alberta Clipper pipeline, in clear violation of its existing permit.1
Enbridge is responsible for the Kalamazoo tar sands disaster, the largest inland oil-spill in U.S. history.
But shockingly, the State Department is green-lighting this scheme without giving public notice of its decision, without conducting a detailed environmental review, and without a finding of "national interest," as required for Keystone XL and other new pipeline projects.
Expanding tar sands production, by any means, will lead to “essentially game over” in our fight against climate change. So it is crucial that we strongly challenge this decision.
Tell Secretary Kerry and President Obama: Stop Enbridge’s dangerous and illegal tar sands pipeline expansion scheme. Comment here
Enbridge has been trying since 2012 to get a presidential permit to expand the Alberta Clipper from its current permitted capacity of 450,000 barrels per day to 800,000 barrels per day.
Thanks in large part to our public pressure, activists have stalled approvals for this tar sands project and others, like the Keystone XL pipeline. So Enbridge concocted a dangerous scheme that essentially amounts to smuggling to get their filthy product across the border.
Instead of carrying tar sands across the border on the Clipper pipeline directly, Enbridge is diverting the tar sands flow to an adjacent 47-year-old pipeline, where it will travel 20 miles across the US border into Minnesota, then back to the Clipper pipeline. Disturbingly, the aging "Line 3" was not designed to carry toxic and corrosive tar sands crude, yet would be operating at more than double its current capacity.
Yes, this is a proven recipe for disaster: The 2013 Mayflower Arkansas spill was caused by a rupture of the similarly aging Pegasus pipeline, which had been also co-opted to carry tar sands crude.
Tell Secretary Kerry and President Obama: Stop Enbridge’s dangerous and illegal tar sands pipeline expansion scheme.
The quiet State Department approval of Enbridge’s pipeline scheme stands in clear violation of the process required to approve new tar sands infrastructure, and the National Interest Determination test the President set for Keystone XL: If the project significantly increases carbon pollution, it should not be approved.
This project, which could carry about half as much crude as Keystone XL, clearly fails that test.
It’s possible that President Obama and Secretary Kerry did not know about this decision, in which case they could intervene and put a stop to it. But if they do nothing, it will seriously call into question the President’s commitment to fighting climate change, and commitment to the test he himself set for ensuring that tar sands pipeline projects do not make climate change worse.
Only time will tell. But now is the time to raise our voices against the State Department’s approval of Enbridge's dangerous and illegal tar sands pipeline expansion scheme.
Thanks for taking action.
- "State Department Approves Illegal Scheme for Doubling Tar Sands Flowing through the Great Lakes," National Wildlife Federation, 8/25/14