Canadian pipeline company Enbridge and its allies are working hard on spinning the Alberta Clipper pipeline that increases US dependence on foreign "oil" and delays necessary development of sustainable domestic energy (and job creation in this field) as "energy independence".
Proponents of the Enbridge application before the the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission distributed buttons to their supporters touting job creation and "North American energy independence". Related radio ads in our area say that the pipelines reduce U.S. dependence on oil from more unstable parts of the world. The reality is that U.S. demand for petrochemicals is deeply destabilizing to Canada and its territorial integrity, to Ottawa's relations with First Nations. The contamination of lands and waters and the disruption of traditional ways of life by the tar sands economy are driving force behind the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's impulse to attain sovereignty and its ongoing rejection of funding from Ottawa.
The exuberance of many Canadian politicians for Enbridge projects has undermined faith in the Harper government, and leaders in other parties ties to Enbridge lobbying make them look somewhat corrupt (e.g. Public “concerned about disclosure” regarding B.C. Premier Christy Clark's relationship with Enbridge). Tar sands issues are as likely to create situations of civil unrest in Canada as they are in the U.S. - where the climate issue has driven a deep wedge between the Obama administration and the passionate youth that helped elect him. OFA's refusal to engage on Keystone XL is likely the end of members seeing the the organization as a legitimate grassroots progressive movement with any independence from Obama and other D.C. power brokers. Alumni of Obama for America who participated in XL DISSENT, the March 2nd student led civil disobedience action at the White House stood out to me while watching that event by livestream.
While the idea that the pipeline represents "energy independence" from unstable, corrupt regimes in parts of the world the average American might associate petroleum conflicts with is great spin - there is no greater spin than Enbridge or its predecessors failure to contain and cleanup the 1979 pipeline spill near my hometown is a boon for science, or demonstrates that in situ bioremediation (not doing anything with oil spills seeping into an aquifer) is an appropriate reaction to catastrophic failure of a pipeline. Unfortunately we see the same "scientific" approach being used to delay cleanups of failures of tar sands tailings ponds in Alberta now, too... (Oilsands study confirms tailings found in groundwater, river vs. Oil sands industry group says jury out on tailings ponds polluting Athabasca)
Apologists for Enbridge's faillure to recover and remove spilled crude oil from the 1979 pipeline spill have gone so far to call the 1979 pipeline spill "A Gift That Keeps On Giving".
Minnesota's lakes, rivers and aquifers don't need anymore gifts from Enbridge oil pipeline disasters. This study site is simply proof that Enbridge can't and won't finish costly cleanup of pipeline disasters, and that the MPCA and other agencies will bend to the will of corporations that want to control costs of their disasters, that lead to permanent pollution at best, and loss of human life all too often.
Below the fold - I'll try to embed some fun video from yesterday's protest and rally at the MN Public Utilities Commission.
10:28 AM PT: This infographic/video shows you where the petroleum industry has given other gifts that keep on giving:
The Alberta Clipper line 67 expansion permit would increase its tar sands derived capacity to 800000 barrels-per-day - on par with the Keystone XL pipeline. This video was designed to show the dangers of Keystone XL, but it also briefly shows a pipeline event that killed two workers in Clearbrook, MN in November 2007. Enbridge was fined $2.4 million for safety violations that lead to that disaster.