In regard to the number of people that showed up to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline in Washington, Morris said “imagine that many people going to Cushing.”
“I wish the government were doing something, but they’re not,” another GPTSR member said. “The truth is right now, they’re not protecting the land, they’re not protecting the people. People are dying today.”
History of pipeline spills: The first Keystone pipeline leaked 12 times in its first year and at least 30 times to date. It was originally only predicted to spill once every seven years, a GPTSR member said.
In 2010, Enbridge’s pipeline spilled more than a million gallons of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.
“The Kalamazoo Tar Sands spill is the costliest inland spill in United States history, draining the oil spill coffers and placing the $800 million and rising price tag onto backs of local and federal taxpayers,” a GPTSR press release stated. “But it is not the monetary burden that weighs heaviest; the toll on human life, health and local ecosystems is immeasurable, and in the immediate, the toxicity of the diluted bitumen and undisclosed proprietary chemicals has proven devastating.”
During the meeting last week, Morris said the clean-up from the Kalamazoo spill has been an ongoing process for a long time. Thirty-seven miles of river still has “sludge” at the bottom of it, he said. Not only has it damaged the river, but it has affected the health of those in surrounding communities.
“As they’re trying to clean it up, they’re agitating the bitumen at the bottom of the river,” Morris said. “It’s interesting because they’re actually building another pipeline right alongside it.”
“And Michigan’s allowing that?” a Sierra Club member said.
“Yep,” Morris said. “There’s some resistance, but not on a level that will amount to anything in terms of legislative changes.”