Saturday, May 17, 2014

Event Horizon

When looking at this photograph of a cornfield in Nebraska, one is struck by the sheer size of the landscape in question, where the sky seems to extend to forever and simple breaks in the horizon attain a significance in ways impossible to imagine outside of a place such as this. Now imagine this place poisoned, where nothing grows and restoration to it's former state is simply not possible due to the kind of product Keytone XL will ship to Texas refineries if the pipeline comes to pass.

Trans­Canada, the $48 billion Canadian company that owns the Keystone, has repeatedly said the XL will be “the safest pipeline ever built on U.S. soil,” a technological marvel with automatic shut-off valves and satellite monitoring. The exact composition of what will flow through the pipeline is not publicly available, but it will include bitumen — a thick, semisolid petroleum product — blended with natural gas that has been pressurized to become a liquid. If the line is approved, it could carry 830,000 barrels a day of this “diluted bitumen” across Nebraska, over 275 miles and through 515 private properties. No one knows exactly what a leak would do, but evidence from past malfunctions suggests catastrophe. In 2010, a spill from Enbridge’s Line 6B dropped 840,000 gallons of bitumen to the bottom of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. Four years and more than a billion dollars later, the cleanup continues. Last spring, Exxon’s Pegasus line burst near a residential area of Mayflower, Ark., spreading 210,000 gallons of bitumen through neighborhood streets, causing evacuations and leaving residents complaining of respiratory problems, nausea and headaches.

Something to consider, don't you think?

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