Part Two of Two.
Jeff Harrell, South Bend Tribune Discussion »
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA Oil equals jobs, a boost to a fledgling economy and independence from unstable global oil reserves.
So say proponents of the Enbridge and Keystone XL pipelines, among them US Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, Indiana.
"Senator Donnelly has expressed his support for building the Keystone XL pipeline,"
Donnelly spokeswoman Elizabeth Shappell wrote in an email.
The senator, Shappell added, also would support other pipeline construction if it meets the required safety and reliability standards.
But not everyone is in favor of pipeline construction.
"The best thing we have going for us is our water,"
says Nicole Barker, executive director of The Save the Dunes Council. That LaPorte County group that along with the Hoosier Environmental Council, has petitioned the US Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to block the Enbridge pipeline from crossing northern Indiana wetlands and four rivers. The area within 20 miles of Lake Michigan that provides drinking water for 10 million people.
"It is kind of the Great Lakes alternative to the Keystone XL,"
Enbridge's plan to link its Michigan and northern Indiana pipeline with a larger pipeline running tar sands oil from Canada to Texas would compete with TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline.
Keystone XL, a proposed 1,179 mile oil pipeline that begins in Alberta, would run south, crossing the US border to Nebraska and continue down to the Louisiana Gulf Coast.
Without Keystone XL, proponents caution, the environment will go up in a cloud of Chinese smog.
"The clear environmental consequences of refusing to allow the northern leg of Keystone to be built will be that much of this bitumen will be refined in Chinese refineries and burned in Chinese cars and factories, all of which have far lower environmental protection standards than US refineries, cars and factories,"
David Blackmon, former public policy issues coordinator for Shell Oil and Burlington Resources, writes in Forbes magazine.
"In other words,"
"carbon emissions globally would go up."
"We have an opportunity here in this country to transport oil from the US or from our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada,"
says Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum.
"From a consumer perspective,"
"to be able to get it from our country, or from our friends north, is a much better alternative than going overseas to get it from a less reliable and unsecured nation."
Reliability presents a sore talking point to pipeline opponents.
During a public meeting recently in front of the LaPorte County commissioners, Barker says members of her group and the Hoosier Environmental Council, along with "scientists and people from the pro-oil industry," questioned Enbridge representatives about the new pipeline planned for northwest Indiana.
"They were asking the same question."
Barker says of both factions.
"Have you done any specific studies on our waterways? And they were not able to answer those questions."
The Enbridge pipeline Line 6B that ruptured in 2010 and spilled more than 1 million gallons of heavy crude tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River was 45 years old.
Enbridge's Manshum cites the US Department of Transportation's investigation into the spill to dispute the claim that the line broke from abrasive tar sands oil corroding the inside of the pipe.
"One thing they made crystal clear was that the rupture was not caused by internal corrosion, but on the outside, or the exterior of the line related to the coating,"
The eroded coating, he explains,
"allowed, over the years, moisture to get into the steel and weaken the line."
But opponents say the result remains the same: Enbridge's pipeline ruptured and Enbridge's oil killed the environment around the Kalamazoo River.
Pipelined oil, they say, is not the energy answer to the future of an ever-changing environment.
President Barack Obama in an address in June said he would give his approval to building the Keystone XL Pipeline
" only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution."
Meanwhile, a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March found 66 percent of Americans favor building the Keystone XL Pipeline, with 23 percent opposing.
Don't count North America's indigenous culture among those in favor of the Keystone XL Pipeline or the Enbridge Michigan/Indiana pipeline.
In December, opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline fueled the most highly charged Native American movement since the American Indian movement of the 1970s.
Idle No More, a grass-roots movement, sprang out of Canada over a bill that overhauled Canada's Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) of 1882 to clear a path for Enbridge and TransCanada oil pipelines.
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posted August 12, 2013 10:20 am edt