Where is home for Canadian Tar Sands Heavy Crude Oil? The Mobile River?

In July 2010, a pipe segment ruptured into Talmadge Creek, which flows into the Kalamazoo River in Calhoun County, Michigan. The rupture in the pipeline caused a spill in excess of 1 million US gallons of bituminous tar sands heavy crude oil originating from Alberta, Canada. This led to human evacuation and contaminated drinking water.  Three years and 1 billion dollars later, the cleanup seems never ending and an impossible challenge, because of the abrasive, corrosive, dirty composition of the bituminous tar sands oil product called diluted bitumen (dilbit) oil that the pipeline had been transporting. The EPA has now recommended to the State Department that pipelines that carry bituminous tar sands oil should no longer be treated just like pipelines that carry other oil products.

Regardless of the fate of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, a series of permits granted in 2011/2012 mean Mobile would become a key U.S. delivery point for oil derived from Canadian tar sands for export to Asia and Europe, unless we demand Public Hearings, here in Mobile, for these pipeline projects.

The Gulf Coast Asphalt Company and Arc Terminals, LP, have received the permits required to unload railcars full of Canadian Tar Sand oil at facilities along the Mobile River and expand their storage tank facility to accommodate tens of millions of gallons of oil along the Mobile River across from the Convention Center.

Heavy tar sands oil requires heating to reduce viscosity and hold the oil to a more liquid state. This operation requires the construction of a pipeline beneath the Mobile River to move tar sand oil from the rail terminal on the west bank to storage facilities on the east bank.

Another permit has been granted to Plains Southcamp LLC in Alabama, that allows for the construction of an oil pipeline running from downtown Mobile to Ten-Mile Alabama and on to the Chevron refinery in Pascagoula. The pipeline plans to transport 6 million gallons of oil a day. This proposed pipeline project consists of 11 stream crossings, 128 wetland crossings and horizontal directional drilling at the Escatawpa River, Black Creek, and Little Black Creek. The project also consists of the expansion of the Plains Ten Mile Compressor Station. This pipeline also goes underneath the watershed that supplies the municipal drinking water for the city of Mobile. This pipeline could devastate ecosystems, pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health. The companies involved have been linked to 804 spills totaling around 6.8 million gallons of oil since 1999.

The Mobile Bay Sierra Club held a meeting on in June to discuss these pipeline projects and what approach local citizens, neighborhood groups, organizations, and businesses should take.

The Mobile Bay Sierra Club is hosting another community meeting to discuss “What Courses of Action Should Be Taken Regarding the Mobile Tar Sands Projects”, and “How Private Businesses can now lobby to Have the Power of Eminent Domain in Alabama”?

Tom Hutchings, President and Founder of EcoSolutions, Inc., will facilitate our discussion. Everyone is encouraged to bring experience, information, expertise, and strategy to the discussion.

When: Tuesday, July 2 at 7:00pm at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center.

Refreshments will be served at 6:40 p.m.

Please follow the Sierra Club signs to the meeting location at 5 Rivers.

Address: 5 Rivers, Alabama’s Delta Resource Center, 30945 Five Rivers Blvd., Spanish Fort, AL 36527  (entrance is across from Meaher State Park on the Mobile Bay Causeway)

Please forward this information invitation to any interested people or groups.

For more information, please contact Carol Adams-Davis, 702-496-5050 or email: mcadamsdavis@earthlink.net


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