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Friday AM June 17th, 2010

The State Department tonight holds a hearing for public comment on the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline. Ed Mayberry reports.



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The proposed 36-inch pipeline would carry tar sands from Canada to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur.  Evelyn Merz is a volunteer with the Sierra Club.

“Its purpose is to carry some of the heavier tar sands crude mined near the Athabasca River in Canada down here for refining, and one of the reasons there is a push to bring it down here is because in Houston you’ll have, and also in Port Arthur, you’ll have access to international shipping.  There are some issues regarding the construction of the pipeline with thinner than standard pipes, and also to operate the pipe under higher pressures than standard.”

Tar sands oil is a heavier crude, so the Sierra Club worries about higher levels of pollutants, in an area already challenged to meet air quality standards.  And Merz has other concerns.

“We have objections to tremendous damage that is done in mining, which has a lot of similarities to the mining of coal.”

Ed: “But that’s Canada.  I mean, it’s already being done, so it’s a matter of ‘do we want that product?'”

“We do have some say as to whether or not we want the product, and of course you are correct, that we can’t tell Canada what to do.  But by saying that we are willing to accept this type of crude and accept the consequences, we’re going to enable tremendous destruction of the forests and of wildlife in Canada.”  

Tonight’s public hearing is set for seven at the Channelview High School Auditorium on Sheldon Road in Channelview.

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