FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, July 8, 2010
CONTACT: Jesse Worker (812) 606-1748

DETROIT – Michigan environmental groups, along with State Representative Rashida Tlaib, called on Secretary of State Clinton Wednesday to deny the permit of a proposed TransCanada Oil pipeline that would carry 900,000 gallons per day of polluting tar sands from Canada to the United States.

The U.S. State Department is being urged to reject the project, known as the Keystone XL dirty fuels pipeline, by residents and environmental groups. The pipeline would run through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. State will make a determination on whether the pipeline is in the “national interest” on or about July 16.

“The Great Lakes are too precious to risk. In light of the BP oil spill, we all realize that pollution from dirty energy sources not only threatens water quality but our local economy would also be devastated,” said Monica Patel of the Ecology Center. “Tar sands are one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet, causing far more environmental destruction and greenhouse gas emissions than oil, gas or coal. This is one energy choice that is too extreme.”

There are dozens of refineries across the nation, and many of them are around the Great Lakes; another pipeline would only put our communities at greater risk to exposure of toxic cancer causing materials.” The processing of tar sands oil increases emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, benzene and other carcinogens that affect the nervous system and can cause cancer. In addition tar sands produces 3 times the greenhouse gases as conventional oil. Marathon Oil in Detroit is currently expanding its capacity 80,000 barrels per day to accommodate tar sands. According to University of Michigan scientists, the zip code – 48217- in which Marathon Oil Refinery resides is the most polluted in the state.

“Detroit has already been cited as one of the most polluted area in the state. With many refineries surrounding the Great Lakes, Detroiters could be put at higher risk for cancer and respiratory disease,” said State Representative Rashida Tlaib (D –Southwest Detroit). “Tar sands development will only enrich TransCanada Oil Company but cost everyone in legal expenses, environmental cleanup and instability caused by global warming.”

Tar sands oil is bitumen mixed with sand and rocks that requires more processing and uses more water than traditional refining to become gasoline. The bitumen requires three barrels of water, heated by natural gas, to produce one barrel of sour crude. In order to mine tar sands, vast tracts of forest are cleared and wastewater ponds accumulate from the three million gallons of contaminated water and sludge discharged daily from in situ processing.

“We need to look toward a clean energy future that puts Michiganders to work and relieves us of our reliance of dirty foreign energy, said James Clift, of the Michigan Environmental Council. The use of tar sands has already polluted billions of gallons of fresh water with toxic chemicals, and results in more environmental destruction and greenhouse gas emissions than oil, gas or coal.”

“From tar sands to mountain top removal to the BP oil spill, energy producers are having a detrimental effect on communities, like Detroit, whose people are living in their shadows,” said Rhonda Anderson, Sierra Club organizer. “Not only are people seeing the economic downside of these energy companies, but they now have to live with respiratory disease and the possibility of developing cancer.”

Around 100,000 Americans wrote the Obama administration urging it to stop the pipeline during a public comment period that closed July 2.


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