Tar Sands Oil Pipeline would Violate Bush-Era Pollution Law

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Deformed fish caught in Lake Athabasca, Alberta, downstream form oil sands (photo: Jason Franson, Canadian Press)
The Obama administration, which supports the end of global warming, has embraced a petroleum project that would help produce oil so bad for the planet that the oil-friendly administration of George W. Bush outlawed its use in the United States.
That’s the political turnabout surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline, which is intended to transport tar-sands oil from Canada across the U.S. to refineries in Texas. Tar sands oil is considered one of the “dirtiest” sources of petroleum on earth, loaded with so much carbon that the extraction and use of the Canadian resource could make it almost impossible to reverse the impact of global warming anytime soon, according to some scientists.
Tar sands oil was essentially outlawed for use in the U.S. when President Bush approved section 526 of the Energy Independence and National Security Act of 2007. Section 526 prohibits the government—the largest fuel purchaser in America—from using taxpayer dollars to purchase fuels that have a higher carbon footprint than conventional oil (namely, tar-sands petroleum).
And yet the Obama administration is seriously considering approval of the Keystone project and allowing the carbon-laden oil to enter the country.
Representative Henry Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Energy Committee, says the U.S. cannot purchase tar-sands oil without violating Section 526.
The American Petroleum Institute and its allies in Congress have repeatedly tried to repeal section 526. Supporters of the project argue that Keystone won’t violate federal law because the plan is to export the processed tar sands oil to other countries, and not sell it domestically.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
The Keystone Pipeline: Too Dirty for George W. Bush? (by Brendan Smith and Jeremy Brecher, CommonDreams)
Deformed Fish Found Downstream from Oil Sand Project; Next Stop…Utah (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


JWilliams 12 years ago
just to clarify this statement: "representative henry waxman of california, the ranking democrat on the house energy committee, says the u.s. cannot purchase tar-sands oil without violating section 526." it's just the united states government that cannot purchase fuels with a higher carbon footprint than conventional oil. the rest of the us can buy it all they want. additionally, much of the oil would be exported to other countries anyway, and many of them have no such provisions.

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