- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Greens vow mass protests if Obama OKs Keystone pipeline
As crews clean up spilled oil from a pipeline in Arkansas, environmental activists and others are using that spill and other incidents as fresh ammunition in their battle against the proposed Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline.
The leak from ExxonMobil's Pegasus pipeline, carrying the same Canadian oil sands that would be transported by Keystone, has forced the evacuation of more than 20 families in the small town of Mayflower. The company estimates that “a few thousands barrels of oil” were spilled in the area.
The incident comes at an especially bad moment for the oil and gas industry and other proponents of the Keystone pipeline. The project enjoys growing bipartisan support in Congress and is backed by a strong majority of the American people.
It also appeared that, after years of delay, President Obama was leaning toward approving the project after a recent, largely favorable environmental review from the State Department.
But now critics can point to the Mayflower spill and cleanup effort as an example of what can go wrong with large-scale pipeline projects. Not even 24 hours after the Friday afternoon spill, Keystone opponents began to make the connection.
“This latest toxic mess is just another reminder that oil companies cannot be trusted to transport toxic tar sands crude through Americans’ backyards,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “It’s not a matter of if spills will occur on dangerous pipelines like the Keystone XL, but rather, when.”
“Whether it’s the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or this mess in Arkansas, Americans are realizing that transporting large amounts of this corrosive and polluting fuel is a bad deal for American taxpayers and for our environment,” he said in a statement.
Some environmental groups are arguing that thick Canadian oil sands could pose unique dangers to pipelines due to faster corrosion and other factors.
The exact cause of the spill, ExxonMobil said, remains unclear and is under investigation. The company also says it has taken steps to ensure that no oil reaches nearby Lake Conway.
The Arkansas spill is the latest in a series of incidents raised by Keystone critics to demonstrate holes in both pipeline safety and other dangers associated with crude oil transport.
They’re also pointing to last week’s rupture of a Chevron Corp. pipeline in Utah; the derailment of a southbound train carrying Canadian oil sands through Minnesota last week; and numerous other incidents over the past few years.
Meanwhile, even before the Arkansas incident, Mr. Obama was set to again hear from the environmental movement.
Liberal activist group Credo, the Sierra Club and others have organized a protest in front of a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, an event the president is scheduled to attend.
Credo also has promised to mobilize more than 50,000 activists to engage in “civil disobedience” in front of government office buildings, outside banks financing the project and at other locations if Mr. Obama greenlights Keystone.
Support for the pipeline had been increasing both in Congress and among voters, though it remains to be seen whether that support erodes because of what’s happened in Arkansas.
A March 28 Rasmussen survey found that 58 percent likely U.S. voters support building the pipeline, while just 26 percent are opposed to it. The poll also reported that, despite the demonstrations and protests of the environmental movement, the real passion lies on the pro-Keystone side of the debate.
One-third of likely voters “strongly favor” building the pipeline, while just 12 percent “strongly oppose” it, the survey shows.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk to meet with Obama at White House
- Cruz: Putin taking advantage of Obama's weakness
- Gates: Obama strategy won't stop Putin
- Paul takes veiled shot at Cruz, says GOP must focus on growth
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Six Senate seats could hinge on Keystone pipeline
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- Italy outraged over U.S. gun dealer's 'David' ad
- CURL: The modern GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again