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Jun-08-2012 12:52printcomments

Keystone XL: Will EPA Concern Over 61 Water Crossings Go Unanswered?

Approval from the Army Corps is virtually all that stands between TransCanada and pipeline construction.

Keystone XL pipeline

(BROOKLYN, NY) - The Army Corps is not responding to an EPA scientist's letter about 61 water crossings in Texas as the White House works to expedite pipeline approval.

An EPA letter that was once a mere blip on the radar for the Keystone XL oil pipeline may now be the last federal regulatory obstacle facing the controversial project.

Seven months ago, EPA scientist Jane Watson wrote to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging a more thorough review of the pipeline's water crossings. TransCanada had applied to the Corps for a blanket nationwide permit, the kind granted to projects with minimal impacts on waterways. But Watson identified 61 crossings in southern Texas alone that weren't eligible for these general permits.

Watson's letter, sent on Nov. 8, attracted little attention. The Army Corps' role was minor compared to the State Department, the agency that was then in charge of the pipeline review, and the Corps didn't respond to the letter.

But everything changed after the Obama administration denied the pipeline permit in January. TransCanada split the project in two, and the Army Corps is now the main agency in charge of the southern segment (dubbed the Gulf Coast Project), which would help relieve the glut of oil in Cushing, Okla. by shipping it to refineries and ports along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Approval from the Army Corps is virtually all that stands between TransCanada and pipeline construction.

Roger Butow, our Laguna Beach based environmental writer, our 'ODD MAN OUT', has been following this debacle for years, we suggest reading his reports on this subject as they offer fantastic background and insight into Keystone.

Please visit the full report above by Lisa Song: Keystone XL: Will EPA Concern Over 61 Water Crossings Go Unanswered? - insideclimatenews.org

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Anonymous June 9, 2012 7:09 am (Pacific time)

Looking at these posts regarding Clinton quickly exposes what little people know about Clinton. He literally provided no leadership in regards to the economy or foreign affairs. He was more involved in a continuing pattern of satisfying his own personal needs, leaving a trail of abused woman, lies and assaults that were clearly criminal. He lied in federal court, was disbarred, he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for sexual harassment charges. Then he helped orchestrate a complete stoppage of our various intelligence gathering organizations from sharing "real time" intelligence. He failed on 3 occasions to kill Usama. The latter, coupled with hamstringing our domestic/foreign intelligence may have indeed led to the death of thousands of dead Americans. More evidence for that than the bizzare conspiracies floating around out there in "unreal world." Then we had over 100 of his staff who took the 5th in front of congress. What were they hiding? Furthermore he allowed the "No Fly Zone" in Iraq to lose it's teeth, while failing to monitor Iraq and their growing belligerence. Talk to some Kuwaiti's about Iraqi war crimes, or Iraqi's about his death squads. As far as Bush was concerned, there were 18 UN Resolutions by all major countries against Iraq. Go check the speeches by democrat Senators and Congressmaen and see them calling for attacks on Iraq! The facts are all part of official historical record, not the revisionism by propagandists. Look at the vote to attack Iraq and Afghanistan. The attack on Iraq was called for by democrats during the Clinton Administration. So Obama was going to pull all troops immediately and close our facilities in Cuba. So what did we get, an attack on Libya, and a world tour where he was bowing and apologizing, making us look weak. He has created more debt in 3 years than all the other presidents combined...well he had help with a democratically-controlled senate and house. These clowns are being replaced, for the voter has wised up. You see the votes in San Jose and SanDiego reducing pensions for union workers! I make no apology for the exceptionalism for America, we have saved literally hundreds of millions of people. The propagandists sit on the sidelines of life, their actions have no real impact, and I'm referencing those that are at least known on a national/international level. The others are simply jokes,as was Clinton. Oh and the Canadian pipeline is well planned and their are safety standards that will help avoid any major ecological disasters. Look up how many miles of underground pipes we have carrying various fuels. If you include natural gas lines to businesses/homes, then we are talking probably over a million accumulative miles, but certainly in the hundreds of thousands. What is the accident rate per capita? Pretty safe way of energy transmission.

Anonymous June 8, 2012 5:50 pm (Pacific time)

DJ name one program or piece of legislation that Clinton originated on his own? If you recall he ran in 1992 asserting that he would not raise taxes, but as soon as he was sworn in he raised taxes. In the next two year election cycle the republicans took both the house and the senate. All Clinton did after that was sign the legislation that the republicans gave him. Currently the senate is run by majority leader Reid, a democrat who has not put forth a budget as required by law since Obama was sworn in over 1,000 days ago. He has also not brought forth bi-partisan bills from congress that deals with the economy, jobs, energy, and many other bills that American voters put these people in office to deal with. So, who is managing and who is leading? Pretty clear, and that is reflected in the Wisconsin vote. Times are a changing, and we will have managers and leaders taking over next year. Though I do expect a "wag the dog" scenario before too long, and it will be over Iran. The Attorney General, have you been following his testimony? If so, then you understand the danger America is in, and the pipeline from Canada is the least of our problems, though that pipeline will be easy to accomodate and meet appropriate safty standards.

DJ: Clinton left office with a huge surplus which W went on to obliterate. You might not like Clinton, but I would call that "managing". W on the other hand started two unfunded wars which I would call mismanaging. You're letting your ideology get in the way of reality. 

Roger E. Butow June 8, 2012 5:05 pm (Pacific time)

I misspelled a few words in my comments made @ 1:43 pm today, while I await Tim's corrections of them let me please point out to whichever ANONYMOUS this is that I didn't make up these regulations or laws: A bi-partisan federal government legislature did most of that in the late 60s to early 70s, that flaming liberal Tricky Dicky Nixon affixed his signature to the legislative decrees that created most of these agencies and the federal acts empowering, directing and guiding them, the basis of their respective mission statements and goals.
Binary thinkers usually see arguments like Manicheans of yore, as struggles between darkness and light, good vs. evil. Demonizing your perceived enemies.
To see this as a Demo vs. Republican issue is to fall into the same trap: It has NOT had enough review. It's unprecedented, and only regarding the potentially adverse significant impacts, especially cumulative ones forbidden/prohibited by the National Environmental Policy Act, only considering effects upon humans not only is biologically myopic, but ignores enviro-protection laws and the bipartisan will that created, nurtured and refined them subsequently.
Like I've written before, if you think that little or no regulation or oversight is right, then move to India, China or some 3rd world country where you can't breath, drink the water or eat food from the soil.
The Wisconsin vote analogy is simply stupid and disingenuous. It's like that 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon game, bozos are using it to justify or rationalize anything not bolted down.. It has absolutely nothing to do with it.
The "accidental discharges" ("Oooops, my bad") of the Gulf oil spill or other such calamities should have warned us: These people jeopardize our common heritage, our natural resources, when they fail they end up settling for 10 cents on the dollar. Who will compensate the river and its creatures and dead plants, how will they get healed 'cause $$$ won't reverse catastrophe for them. This type of anthropocentric thinking is antiquated, almost lizard brain in its world view.
And puh--lease, now ANONYMOUS wants to equate a river where there's no way out with an open ocean with at least dispersion/dilution potential? Now wanna guess who slept through biology class or never took a course in ecology? People like this use a HUMAN FIRST, EVERYTHING ELSE SECOND operating system.
So I guess between GOD giving us dominion and the Wisconsin mandate (ha ha), righteousness prevails so that we can live on a dead planet.
Which, by the way, is why these laws were enacted 40+ years ago---Because our elected Demo and Republican officials understood the decimation we'd already created decades ago, the potential for further degradation if unchecked or reversed, and passed these decrees.
The Earth is not our toy, our personal coffer, the natural resources ours to plunder and exploit, it does not belong to us, we belong to it..

Anonymous June 8, 2012 2:31 pm (Pacific time)

Of course power brown outs and black outs also happen. How many dead and injured do those above events cause? Obama may be liked by many confused people out there, but as the recent Wisconsin vote showed, democrats cannot lead nor manage the affairs of American society. There have been far more people killed in so-called green energy development, e.g., wind turbines, than in all other oil, coal, hydroelectric and nuclear energy industries. There are safeguards in place to respond to any accidental discharges...these are not locations in deep ocean areas. We need the power people, please do not let the fearmongers scare you back into the stone age, for they have no idea what current technology is, they really do not know. For example, what major on land leaks have caused an ecological didaster lately? How many people die when they have no heat or air conditioning. Then just turn all the power off for a day. Remeber when the grid went down in NewYork a few years back? Well, it will happen again under the current leadership mismanagement, so vote for competence and remember what you've seen in the last 3 and 1/2 years.

 DJ: Democrats cannot lead or manage? Remember what you've seen in the last twenty-four  years (1988 on) Compare Clinton's eight years after four years of GHW Bush, then followed by GW Bush's eight years. Three and a half years is just Obama trying to clean up after W's mismanagement.

Roger E. Butow June 8, 2012 1:43 pm (Pacific time)

 To those opposed to the XL, or simply having concerns due to the disparate and confusing information being circulated, look up so-called USACOE & USFW 404 Dredge & Fill Permits for projects that affect migrational aquatic corridors, breeding or foraging habitats, erosion/flood, sediment deposition or depravation and streamed stabilization plus navigable US  waters protection.

   The 401 is a water quality impairment permit also required by the Clean Water Act, it includes an environmental review process that mandates ALL proposed projects must include strategies & mitigations whenever the attendant, twin 404 Dredge & Fill impacts are critical.  
    Here in California, Cal/EPA (via our water boards) are the lead agencies---We have 9 regional districts that have definitively mapped and carved out oversight.
    Also in California, many times Cal Fish & Game get involved as does USFW because states have the right to have more, not less stringent regulations/oversight than federal ones. All federally threatened and endangered aquatic & riparian species of flora and fauna are in the complex algorithm. 
    States are also allowed to list their own indigenous/natives within their domain to amplify that process. What's threatened/endangered in one state/region, might not be in another.
    These watercourse transits pose a REAL health and safety risk to humans. Whether you use the stream recreationally, whether it helps recharge your basin or aquifer, whether you're sensitive to the EXXON-MOBIL FACTOR (the ecological ramifications), whether you're downstream near a wetland or ocean discharge point, etc., this pipeline is an under-studied issue being fast-tracked. 
    For Obama to support it is suicidal in the minds of protectionists. XL proponents should reveal just how many crossings of tributaries and the main stems of those multi-state creeks & rivers this project transits. A catastrophic event like a major flood or seismic disturbance (that DOES happen in these regions) could melt down fragile ecosystems already under siege.
    The USACOE is a national agency, and since this project includes multiple states they have every right, they are in fact empowered and held accountable to protect what the individual states cannot or will not protect.

Tim King: Thanks Roger!

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