Pipeline Proponents Respond to “Myths and Misinformation”

December 4, 2012 11:25 am | Categories:

York News Times

December 4, 2012
By Melanie Wilkinson

YORK – Proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline recently held a public forum in York to dispel what they call “myths and misinformation” being dispersed by anti-pipeline groups.

Joining Barry Rubin from Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence, was Jeff Rauh, Keystone project representative.

“When it comes to energy, we believe in all of the above and all of the below, to create jobs and economic development,” Rubin told the group.

“We’ve been going around the state for some time now, talking with chambers of commerce. We are strong advocates of the Keystone XL project and we are providing another point of view. We think this pipeline will bring energy independence and improve the economy at all levels.”

Rubin stressed that “pipelines are the safest method to move energy products,” and he reminded the group that Keystone’s pipeline headquarters have been in Omaha since the 1980s, “so they’ve been part of Nebraska for decades.”

He said billions of barrels “of crude oil have been produced, pumped and piped through the aquifer since 1930 and this new pipeline will connect a growing supply of Canadian and U.S. crude oil to the U.S. marketplace.

“We think this is good for America,” Rubin continued. “It will reduce our reliance on OPEC by 40 percent. It will give our economy a shot in the arm by creating approximately 9,000 direct jobs nationally. It will create tax revenue and private capital investments.”

Rubin also said the pipeline will avoid the Sandhills, sandy soils and sensitive groundwater areas “based on the map from the state and federal regulatory agencies. And remember, this new route was based on public input.

“Pipelines have been crossing safely across the aquifer for 60 years without incident. Obviously, we are concerned about safety, but it has been done safely and this pipeline will be even safer,” Rubin continued.

“TransCanada has agreed to 57 additional conditions above the requirements. It will be buried deeper, there will be thousands of sensors with automatic shut-off valves.”

Going back to the issue of economic benefits, Rubin said the construction of the pipeline will create $300 million in personal income in Nebraska “with well-paying, direct jobs and the indirect jobs as well.

It will create $468 million in local economic activity in Nebraska, for our grocery stores, gas stations, lodging, food, etc. And it will provide counties with an increase in property tax influx.

“And I want to point out that, according to polling, the governor and 2/3 of Nebraskans support the construction of the pipeline,” Rubin said.

He then addressed the myths he said are being dispelled by anti-pipeline groups.

“They say that tar sands are more corrosive” than crude oil.

“This is no more corrosive in a pipeline than other heavy crudes,” Rubin said. “Dilbit has been transported through the United States for 40 years with zero corrosion-related incidents. I’ve had an energy expert tell me that ethanol is more corrosive.

“Another myth is that TransCanada uses shoddy steel in its pipelines,” Rubin continued. “They will use 660,000 tons of steel with 50 percent of it coming from Arkansas. Some will come from Canada, Italy and India. They buy all they can from America first.

“And as far as China being the lead investor, of the 10 largest producing projects in oil sands, seven are controlled by Canadian firms, two by Dutch and one by Imperial Oil which is an American company,” Rubin said.

He added that 75 percent of the oil will come from Canada with 25 percent coming from North Dakota and Montana. Once it gets to the Gulf, it will be refined and a small amount of refined product will be exported “almost entirely to Europe and Canada.”

An attendee said she was concerned about the chemical components being added to the tar sands. “If there was a leak, how would our emergency personnel know how to respond, how will we know how to respond and clean it up?”

“Local landowners and responders would not be responsible for that, we would,” responded Rauh.

“Wouldn’t it be better to publicly list those chemicals?” the woman asked.

“Those details are in the final impact statement,” Rauh said.

He also explained that depending on the type of oil being transported at different times, the components would be different at different times – which the company would always be aware of.

“In the final environmental impact statement is the full chemical asset as to what’s in it, for the different types of oil to be shipped. Each oil is unique based on location, with different concentrations.”

In the event of a leak, “the stop time would be 12 minutes to shut it down,” Rauh said.

“We will have people who live along the pipeline route who would respond within hours. The valve closure happens remotely. The strategy is to contain, clean it up and restore. Any affected landowner would be compensated.”

“From a local responder aspect, they would establish a boundary and wait for our folks. I should also point out that we did have a forum right here in York for first responders and we will participate in regular briefings.”

Rauh noted that his company “voluntarily committed to additional 57 new and special conditions addressing safety issues and “we are willing to commit to an entire set of new requirements as part of our regulatory license, as well as to continue to satisfy the federal requirements.”

Editor’s note: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be holding a public hearing regarding the Keystone XL pipeline tonight (Tuesday) in Albion at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to voice their opinions. An informational forum will start at 3 p.m., with the public hearing to start at 6 p.m.