Keystone XL Pipeline Leads to an American Cancer Corridor
Illegal Construction and Cancer Proliferation
Caustic tar sands and pipe sections meant for the final phase of the Keystone XL extension over 1,400 miles long have been transported illegally through North and South Dakota over Native American reserves. This is not only a health hazard, but also disrespect for the sacred burial grounds that are excavated for laying the below-average quality Russian manufactured pipe.
The tar sands to be transported through the pipeline robustly have been been proven to cause cancer in Alberta, where a network of Cancer Corridor Hospitals was established to treat the quickly spreading disease.
Fort Chipewyan's Dr. John O’Connor warned US Senators of the health dangers of tar sands in 2014, alleging that Canadian federal and the AB provincial governments were denying significant peer-reviewed evidence of a cancer incidence rate 400 times the average for the area downstream of a large tar sands deposit near a First Nations reserve.He was fired from the governments for whistle blowing.
Adding more Canadian tar sands to the USA through thousands of miles of additional below- average quality Russian-made pipelines brings danger to the United States.
President Obama rejected Keystone XL final phase, President Trump accepted it, and environmental groups sued on 3/30/17 to stop the deal.
- "Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, Revised and Updated Edition." Andrew Nikiforuk, 2017.
- "Tar Wars:Oil, Environment and Alberta's Image." G Taka, 2017.
- "'A slow industrial genocide':tar sands and the indigenous peoples of northern Alberta." J Huseman, D Short. International Journal of Human Rights, 2012.
American residents do not want miles of land on either side of a 1,400-mile pipeline to be corrupted by caustic, carcinogenic tar sands that will leak from substandard pipe.
End Points Of the Proposed Last Leg For Keystone XL Pipeline
Illegal Use of Tribal Lands
Over 200,000 acres of tribal lands were lost without permission in flooding on the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Reservations when the Army Corps of Engineers built the Oahe Dam. Poverty remains a problem for displaced Native Americans in the Dakotas, who need compensation for the loss of their flooded towns.
Area of Work Stoppage on the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline
Lake Oahe is a reservoir of Oahe Dam on the Missouri River. It originates in South Dakota and continues into North Dakota to cover 370,000 acres.
The federal government stepped into the fight over the Dakota Access oil pipeline Friday, ordering work to stop on one segment of the project in North Dakota...A joint statement from the Army and the Departments of Justice and the Interior said construction bordering or under Lake Oahe would not go forward and asked the Texas-based pipeline builder, Energy Transfer Partners, to stop work 20 miles to the east and west of the lake while the government reconsiders "any of its previous decisions."— AP; Tampa Bay Times; 9/10/2016
The XL Pipeline Fulfills the Black Snake Prophecy
Among the different bands of Sioux Nation in Western North America from Canada to the American Great Plains, an ancient Black Snake Prophecy is known. The prophecy states that a black snake will move underground and destroy Earth (Reference: The US National Pow Wow, 1969 - 2016).
A number of Sioux and other Native North Americans have linked the prophecy with the controversial tar sands transport planned for the Keystone XL pipeline connection in Western USA when completed.
- "Black snakes on the move: US pipeline building out of control"; TR Ezell - Green Left Weekly, 2017.
- "Standing up for Standing Rock: Environmental Racism in Modern America"; L LeBleu - 2017 (digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu).
People living downwind and downstream from tar sand refineries have experienced significantly elevated levels of cancer.— Dr. Yinqun Chen, Canada
Pipeline Between Hardisty and Steele City Already Exists
The Black Snake
The Keystone XL Pipeline has been branded the Black Snake, because of the sludgy, toxic, and corrosive bituminous contents it will carry if it is completed.
The tar sands to be transported in the pipe can be hazardous to human, animal, and plant health and the environment overall. However, a 2014 federal report stated that the proposed Keystone XL northern leg from Montana through Nebraska would not harm the environment. Still, the contents will harm people, things, and places once it corrodes through the pipeline.
Bitumen and its thick tar sands are highly corrosive, especially since chemicals are added to make it flow through the pipes - chemicals that do not come under US jurisdiction..
Some disagree with the government report, likening it to a 1980s study on sugar with results showing little or no harm from sugar to humans. The study was paid for by the Sugar Council.
In Port Arthur, Texas, where major oil refineries are located and where the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would end, cancer rates are 15% higher and mortality rates are 40% higher than average.— Chris Tackett, journalist. October 29, 2013
Cities Along the Intended Northern Leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline for Corrosive Tar Sands
Major connection point for proposed Keystone XL northern leg.
The Black Snake Speaks
The Keystone XL Pipeline proposes 1,400+ miles of 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline. It will begin in Hardisty, Alberta and extend south to Steele City, Nebraska. This pipeline is a critical infrastructure project for the energy security of the United States and for strengthening the American economy.
Cancer In the Polluted Wind Of the Pipes
A study released in the autumn of 2013 found that air pollution directly resulting from Alberta Province's giant tar sands operations affects residents downwind. These residents are placed risk with unsafe levels of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic chemicals in the air. Damage besides cancer can be found in the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system of residents downwind.
Reference: Isobel J. Simpson, et.al. Air quality in the Industrial Heartland of Alberta, Canada and potential impacts on human health. Atmospheric Environment; Volume 81, December 2013, Pages 702–709.
Corroboration of Cancer Findings
People living downwind and downstream from tar sand refineries have experienced significantly elevated levels of cancer, with ongoing follow-up studies and monitoring in progress.
Reference: Dr. Yiqun Chen. Cancer Incidence in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta 1995-2006. February 2009.
Dr. Tony Fields, VP of Cancer Corridor health related services in Alberta stated that "39 cancers found in 47 people" (83% where each has one cancer) is not higher than average. That is difficult to believe.
Native American Nations' Objections
The Lakota Nation of South Dakota seceded from the United States and blocked the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2013 and 2014, preventing the northern leg of the pipeline from construction.
The governor of that state had allowed Canadian construction materials trucks to cross South Dakota and reservation lands without the standard fees paid to the state and without the permission of the Lakota Nation. Some natives were arrested, but the physical blockade continued.
Around Valentine's Day 2014, Members of Native American Nations in eastern South Dakota held a conference to plan further opposition to the pipeline completion. Adding to the blockade and future plans is the Nebraska state governor's right to prevent the pipeline from construction across his state - a right that courts have upheld.
First Nations of British Columbia -- Nine Pacific Northwest Coastal First Nations in BC declared a ban on oil tankers throughout their traditional territories. Reference: The Facts... http://forestethics.org/canada-tar-sands-facts. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
Lakota Nation Lies In the Path Of The Keystone XL
Keystone XL CEOs Might Be Prosecuted In the Future
CEOs whose businesses are complicit in human rights atrocities -- like the mass murder of people who object to land-grabs by mineral extraction companies -- can now be tried in the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
-- Global Witness-Guardian and Telesur at telesurtv.net
NOTE: The USA is not a member of the International Criminal Court and not under its jurisdiction at this time.
Cowboys and Indians Protest in Washington DC
- Meet the 'Keystone Killer': How cowboys and Indians could join to defeat oil pipeline | Power Player
An alliance of cowboys & Indians, with an encampment of tepees and a horseback protest, have taken to Wash. DC to stand in opposition to the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline and oil tar sands.
Vetoed Pipeline Bills
On Friday November 6, 2015, just before Veteran's Day, the US State Department rejected the Canadian proposal for completion of the final leg of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline through the United States.
TransCanada Corp's pipeline plan to transport more than 800,000 barrels per day of tar sands through the completed Keystone XL pipe. As of mid-summer 2016, no bill to allow such has survived the US President's veto.
Most of the jobs promised with the pipeline completion are very short-term. Billionaire Warren Buffet owns the transport trucks for the tar/oil sands, but the trucks can be cleaned and the pipeline will not be cleaned. Holes will eat through pipes and damage will be done. Related cancer is a serious concern at the Canadian pipe head.
Tar Sands Properties and Solutions For Them
The completed Keystone Pipeline would transport the dirtiest of petroleum crude products into the USA from Alberta, Canada. However, the Canadian tar sands comprise the third-largest crude oil reserve in the world. This is an immense resource of energy and revenues, but do the health hazards outweigh the revenue benefits?
These substances are described as the thick, scummy, corrosive tar-and-sands from which petroleum can still be refined. The substances will damage the pipe with corrosion and create additional jobs in the repair and maintenance sector of Oil & Gas. One solution to that is to develop a heavy duty, anti-corrosive lining for the pipeline, much like the white anti-corrosive lining we now have in many commercially prepared vegetable cans in the USA.
However, some linings of many vegetable cans contain carcinogens - BPAs or bisphenol-A. Enamel and epoxy based linings are safer, but much more costly. Glass is the safest healthy container for foods. (Reference: Eden Foods. http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=178 Retrieved February 20, 2014.) We will likely not see glass linings in the Keystone XL Pipeline, because of cost and figuring how to connect glass sections without the rush of heavy tar sands breaking the seams.
Some Americans and many global citizens seem to feel that the Texas Oil Industry feels entitled to Canadian tar sands with which to build further fortunes at a time when hundreds of additional oil wells are being drilled in North Dakota.
The ND wells supposedly eliminate the need for more pipelines, since ND pipes flow roughly west to east to Chicago. Indeed, the Bakken-Williston crude deposits are said to furnish potential energy for all of North America for 100 years. "How much oil does Texas need?" ask some voices.
The Canadian tar sands would be refined and shipped back to Canada at an expensive price, thus making big money for Texas refineries on the Gulf of Mexico (see below).
Addressing the Issues
Proverb: Having Texas Cake and Eating it Too
Concurrently, some Texas residents and some politicians say that they want the Keystone northern leg completed, but that they also want to secede from the Union.
The second sentiment appears in numerous headlines that many of us have seen several times from 2009 to date, during the Obama Years.
These forsakers of the Union would not be able to use the federally funded pipeline (unless the USA charges a cripplingly high fee, probably), but they may feel entitled to use it, since it is on Texas land. Texas cannot reasonably expect both secession and the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Texas is growing in the Aerospace Industry, Transportation (including Oil & Gas), and even Alternative Energies. Some are asking, therefore, why we would refine Canadian tar sands and send oil back to Canada.
One answer must be the high potential revenues for Texas refineries, unfortunately set in lower-income counties where lower-income people are exposed to carcinogens and chemicals that interfere with cardiovascular health. There is little remedy for related chronic illnesses or hope in having refineries moved..
Alberta Cancer Corridor: Fort Chipewyan and Three New Cancer Treatment Centers
Cancer treatment center.
Cancer treatment center.
Cancer treatment center.
Some Effects of Tar Sands Refining
People living downwind and downstream of these refineries are exposed to benzene, toluene, sulfur dioxide, and heavy metals (at least mercury and lead). All are toxic and sulfur dioxide can readily result in cardiovascular problems.
In February 2014, Alberta Health Services listed 6,800 job openings in the Province of Alberta, over 2,450 of these jobs related to cancer treatment and prevention. A portion of these are in the Cancer Corridor, which is more about treatment in the 2010s than the spread of cancer, but Alberta cancers seem to be often tar-sands-refinery related.
The natural gas used to refine tar sands could heat three million homes a day. The water required is three million barrels a day among Canadian tar sands refineries. Many critics see these figures as a waste of resources. Refining tar sands leaves growing toxic lakes at the end of production, these lakes growing by 1.8 liters (475,510 gallons) every day. A way of neutralizing or eliminating them is needed.
Reference: Forest Ethics. The Facts – Canada's tar sands are the newest – and dirtiest — frontier of oil production. http://forestethics.org/canada-tar-sands-facts Retrieved February 21, 2014.
In the USA, the primary tar sands refineries would be located at the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. Toxic chemical byproducts would present an enormous disposal problem and health risk.
NOTE: A resident of Galveston near the refineries complained to me many times that drilling and refining should continue to grow as much as possible in Texas and elsewhere, because the Oil & Gas Industry has "never made anyone sick." Then her husband was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Tar sands refining poses to cause a greater number of health problems than does Texas crude refining.
Cancer Creeps Up to Peace River, Alberta
Families began showing severe symptoms of poisoning and tumors from oil tar sands.
Location of a major new cancer treatment center, resulting from oil tar sand cancers.
Start of north leg of Keystone XL Pipeline (in the Cancer Corridor). Edmonton & Calgary have large cancer treatment centers.
Cancer Treatment Center
Major New Cancer Treatment Center
Cancer Treatment Center
Cancer Corridor Concerns
- Alberta Radiation Therapy Corridor Project, Lethbridge Cancer Centre
This project brings a large treatment center into the Cancer corridor of Alberta, Canada.
- Close to Home | Alberta Cancer Foundation
Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Red Deer and Grande Prairie.
Symptoms Attributable to Tar Sands Refining
A family living beside a tar sands refinery in the town of Peace River in Canada began to suffer multiple unheard-of symptoms of illness. The dad developed
- eye-twitching tics and headaches
- facial and head tumors.
His wife and toddler began falling down in the house frequently for no reason. Another toddler in the family developed grey facial skin and constipation. This suffering family learned that several other local families were facing similar physical problems.
Six nuclear and/or extended families finally moved and many symptoms disappeared.
Reference: Tar Sands Refugees. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/02/18/3217921/tar-sands-refugees/# Retrieved February 20, 2014.
A Possible Texas Cancer Corridor: Refineries Already Operating
Refineries Already Operate in Port Arthur
Some Residents Already Sick
Port Arthur suffered the same residential flight from the city in the 1960s that occurred in Detroit. Hurricanes and the expanding Texas Oil & Gas Industry caused much of the flight from Port Arthur. Much of the city is a ghetto, much of it abandoned, and a housing housing project sits next to a large oil refinery. Residients of the project hope to be moved out and away from the refinery.
At least two dozen refineries have been at work in the Oil & Gas Industry in and around Port Arthur since the 1950s. One Viet Nam veteran states that he recalls at least 22 (see reference in next paragraph).
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory places Jefferson County among the very worst in the nation for air releases of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, and reproductive disorders. In a state that regularly records in excess of 2,500 toxic emissions events per year, Port Arthur is near the top of the list of offending cities. Data collected by the Texas Cancer." Reference: Natural Resources Defense Council/On Earth. Ted Genoways. "Port Arthur, Texas: American Sacrifice Zone."
Parallels With Oil Rigs and Refineries in the Gulf of MexicoClick thumbnail to view full-size
Next Steps to Humane Solutions
- Since the serious human health and environmental risks are higher with tar sands refining than with our petroleum crude oil refining, preventative measures should be developed with which to reduce the risks. Risks include those in pipeline transport and in tar sands byproducts (lakes of toxic sludge).
- One alternative is to continue to block the completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
- Health risks in towns and cities near oil rigs already operating in the Gulf of Mexico need immediate attention, or the residents should move away from the toxins. Some may need government help moving, perhaps Disaster Area aide, taking as an example the residents of a housing project in Port Arthur, Texas.
- Stockman, L. Keystone XL Belongs in the 'Trash Can of History.' EcoWatch. August 9, 2017. www.ecowatch.com/keystone-xl-nebraska-hearings-2470551269.html Retrieved August 9, 2017.
© 2014 Patty Inglish MS