Kalamazoo oil spill leads to concern over Keystone Pipeline plan

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To the Editor,

With Mr. Romney and the GOP pushing for the expansion of the Keystone oil pipeline we need to remember the million gallons of oil that ended up in the Kalamazoo River in July of 2010. Enbridge Inc., a Canadian Oil Co., was aware of the cracks and corrosion of their 30-inch pipeline five years earlier and did nothing to correct those conditions. It took them 17 hours from the first alarm to stop the flow. With no knowledge of how or response plans in place to clean up the oil it took two years before the Kalamazoo River was open to public use again with the oil still on the bottom, banks and adjacent wet lands for 38 miles of the river. This was the single worst oil spill in the central U.S. It was made even worse by the fact that it was the more corrosive, dense, heavy Tar Sands oil that sinks unlike the BP oil that floats and can be retrieved and skimmed off the surface.

There was another devastating Enbridge pipeline break in Wisconsin this summer. Corporate mismanagement, negligence and lack of oversight caused these disasters along with the lack of adequate Government regulations and enforcement. We do need to work toward energy independence but we have to do it safely with the protection of the environment as part of the plan.

President Obama and the residents of North Dakota and Montana are very concerned about the expansion of the Keystone Pipeline through an extremely sensitive environmental area containing a massive water source and its potential contamination in the event of a spill. The oil coming out of the Bakken Oil project is Tar Sands oil that is a potential environmental threat that is almost impossible to clean up or remove.

Claims the Keystone Pipeline would create thousands of new jobs are greatly exaggerated. There will actually only be a few dozen temporary local construction jobs as the pipeline moves south to the Texas refineries and then is shipped in to the world oil market. It will also not increase available reserves in the U.S. or reduce the prices at the pump.

The Fossil Fuel Industry is the wealthiest and most powerful lobbying group and the single largest supporter of Mr. Romney and all the Republicans. They are fighting for reduced environmental and safety regulations and the continuation of the oil and gas subsidies and against research and development of alternate fuel sources such as wind and solar. Exxon Oil, while still receiving government subsidies, recently reported profits of 42 billion dollars.

Your vote in November will do more than determine the President, the taxes you pay, the jobs that are created or sent overseas, it will determine the quality of the environment of the world we live in every day.

Pat Zuidema
Adrian




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