The problem appears to have been caused by the fact that TransCanada lied or rather misled landowners about the Keystone Pipeline that would be
carrying tar sand oil instead of crude oil.
HOUSTON -- A Texas judge has temporarily stopped oil company TransCanada from building a pipeline designed to carry tar sands oil from Canada
through eastern portions of the state to the Gulf Coast.
The decision came after Michael Bishop, 64, a retired paramedic and chemist in East Texas, filed a lawsuit arguing that TransCanada lied to him and
other landowners, promising that the Keystone XL pipeline would transport crude oil, not tar sands oil.
"What they're calling tar sands oil is not oil by anyone's definition," Bishop told The Times, adding that he's worried the pipeline's proposed
contents might contaminate his land. "I'm very concerned about a leak. They need to pull the permit, go back and re-register this on the federal level
as a hazardous-material pipeline and see if they can get it permitted then."
Texas County Court at Law Judge Jack Sinz signed the temporary restraining order and injunction against TransCanada on Friday, finding sufficient
cause to stop work on the pipeline for two weeks. The injunction went into effect Tuesday, and the next hearing in the case is set for Thursday, court
staff told The Times.
This is the comment from the spokesman of TransCanada:
Shawn Howard, a spokesman for TransCanada, told The Times that courts have already ruled that tar sands oil is a form of crude oil. He said
TransCanada had not received a copy of the lawsuit in connection with Bishop's case, but that the company plans to seek an expedited hearing to
address the injunction, which will not delay the project, due to be completed late next year.
"Under Texas law, TransCanada has been granted the legal authority to construct this pipeline. Construction has commenced on the property that is the
subject of the temporary restraining order and the product the Gulf Coast Pipeline will transport is crude oil," Howard said in a statement sent to
The Times on Tuesday.
Many Texas landowners have gone to court to try to fight the company's land condemnations, which they argue have allowed TransCanada to seize land to
build the pipeline without the owners' consent. In February, a judge briefly stopped work on the pipeline in northeastern Texas due to archaeological
artifacts on the property where it was being built. But the judge later ruled work could resume.
There has been a large amount of controversy concerning the extraction of tar sand oil and how it is converted into crude oil. Not to mention the
environmental impact overall.
Sept. 2, 2011
To understand what tar sands are and why they have a slippery reputation with environmentalists, here’s a cheat sheet on these unconventional
WHAT: Tar sands, also known as oil sands, are a mixture of roughly 90 percent sand, clay and water and 10 percent bitumen, a thick hydrocarbon
liquid. After extracting that 10 percent of bitumen from the tar-sand mixture, the bitumen can be purified and refined into synthetic crude oil.
WHERE: In North America, tar sands are concentrated in the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada. Because of Canada’s vast oil deposits, it's the
top supplier of crude oil to the United States. Saudi Arabia is the second-largest supplier.
Tar sands are also found in Venezuela and the Middle East.
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would run from the Alberta tar sands down the middle of the United States through Montana, North Dakota, South
Dakota, Nebraska and Oklahoma, all the way to Texas, where it will be refined and converted into gasoline. That's longer than the Trans Alaska
Pipeline, which stretches 800 miles. Currently, there are around 55,000 miles of oil pipeline crisscrossing the United States.
HOW: Squeezing oil out of tar sand is an extremely wasteful process: it takes between 2 and 4 tons of tar sand and two to four barrels of water to
produce a single barrel of oil. Rather than drilling for oil, enormous shovels carve out open pits in the tar sands, scooping out the greasy interior
to be hauled to a processing facility.
There, the tar sand is combined with water to form a slurry, which forces the sand to sink to the bottom of the mixture while the bitumen floats to
the top. Once the bitumen is extracted, the run-off is piped into large, stagnant tailing ponds of sand, water, and bitumen impurities.
To make it to the pump, refined bitumen heads to an oil refinery where it’s converted into gasoline. And since bitumen is a highly viscous
“heavy” oil that doesn’t flow as easily as lighter crude, it requires more processing to facilitate its flow through the oil pipelines.
Overall, mining tar sands, extracting bitumen and converting it to gasoline releases three times more carbon dioxide than typical oil
. In addition to massive amounts of tar sand needed to extract oil and the carbon emissions generated, the tar sand mining operation
takes places in Alberta's boreal forest, a relatively untouched ecosystem prized for its biodiversity. But the habitat destruction has threatened the
livelihood of various native species, and the Alberta Water Research Institute is currently spending $15 million to prevent runoff toxins collected in
tailing pools from entering nearby water supplies.
WHY: As the price of crude oil has risen and relations with the oil-rich Middle East have deteriorated, tar sands close to American borders have
become a more attractive option in the past decade.
Those in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline argue that importing tar sands oil from Canada, a political ally, will move the country toward more energy
independence. However, those opposing the pipeline counter that reducing reliance on fossil fuels like tar sands oil is the only long-term path toward
HOW MUCH: Tar sands around the world also collectively represent 3 trillion barrels of oil. But a majority of that tar sand bitumen lies too deep in
the earth for recovery with today’s mining technology. Nevertheless, Canadian tar sands produce more than 1 million barrels of crude synthetic oil
NASA scientist James Hansen, who was arrested at the Keystone XL protests in front of the White House, commented that if the government approves
the project, it's "game over" for curbing climate change.
I never realized until I researched this topic how controversial the Keystone Pipeline really is.
And to be able to force the land owners to more or less give them their property because they don't have the money needed to fight the company is
I am definitely on the fence about this one for sure.
edit on 11-12-2012 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)