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Keystone Pipeline and Animal Viability

Throughout time, human concern for animal welfare has been trumped by the quest for energy sources. As a species, we have wantonly stripped away rainforests, drilled in our water supply, and purged resources found in protected animal conservation areas, eradicating countless species along the way. In 2011, Canada and America are once again playing the energy trump card. However, this time they are putting America’s farms directly in harms way.

The U.S. State Department and TransCanada Corporation want to assure American citizens that there is no reason for concern over the expansions to the Keystone pipeline and further extraction from Canada’s Tar Sand regions. These assurances may well carry the weight of air when all the facts are considered.

Let us start with the always overlooked and never talked about fact of shortsighted thinking. The infinitesimal amount of fossil fuel present took the Earth 650 million years to produce. To produce the same amount of fossil fuel without further depleting the resources will take the lifespan of over 8 million human generations.

According to James Hansen, a prominent Climatologist for NASA, if Canada’s Keystone pipeline expansions are allowed that "it is essentially game over" for the climate. The increased extraction and refinement of the Tar Sands for fuel will further heat up the Arctic region, rendering the concern for its replenishment inert as the habitat on the planet will no longer be conducive to supporting animal and human life. James Hansen believed in his findings so fervently that he participated in a White House sit-in protest that lasted from August 20 to September 3, 2011. He and 1,251 other people were arrested for their efforts.

The expansions to the Keystone pipeline are estimated to cost America 8 billion dollars to build and are set to run through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. These states are where a majority of farm animals are raised. Five of the six affected states rear the highest amount of cattle in America, which is the country’s single largest agricultural industry. A spill in these regions would have an immediate impact on the soil and water resources needed to sustain the animals through America’s Heartland.

When the factors of a sharp economic downturn, heavy layoffs, sharp pay decreases, and cutting corners to save a buck are reviewed, it is unfathomable to believe that the American government will take the utmost of care to ensure no oil spills. When an oil spill happens the solution to rectify the problem is equally as dangerous to animal life as the oil spill itself. Penn State’s Agricultural Science Department has stated that toxins from oil spills and the chemicals used to “clean” them up can mix into the soil and ground water supplies to have longstanding direct impacts on wildlife, livestock, and humans.

The numbers do the talking. Review for yourself the facts of oil spills just within America. Here is the breakdown of what oil spills have cost America from 2001 - 2011.A majority of these fines sit in litigation as both domestic and international oil companies negate their responsibility to the American people. The court system is overrun with endless appeals, tying up the legal system at an exorbitant expense. Perhaps these costs could have been more avoidable if the U.S. government organization responsible for handing out the fines followed through on their civic duties by shutting down dangerous operations.

In America fines are handed out by the Occupational, Safety, and Health Department (OSHA), a department that has the authority to shutdown any facility that poses an immediate threat. There is not one instance in the past ten years where OSHA has shutdown any oil operation after it has failed an onsite inspection and that includes violations that have resulted in deaths.

Even though similar totals appear around the world there are many people who remain undeterred in their belief that there is a way to allow the planet and its inhabitants to thrive while practicing destructive behavior. The Canadian government has given the distinct impression, through their actions and statements, that fossil fuels are nearly infinite and completely harmless.

Here are some facts people should contemplate in regards to these pipeline expansions.
Clearly, if we value the continued existence of animal and human life on this planet then globally we must come up with alternative energy sources, not someday in the hazy unaccountable future, but now. Throughout the course of history, the world has produced some of the most intelligent, creative minds that have forever changed the world in which we live. Surely, the creativity of our evolution does not end with the invention of computers and the Internet. We need to support constructive, inspired minds that have aspirations for long-term positive solutions for the sustainability of all life forms beyond their own life expectancy and pocketbook.

For those interested in making their voices heard please sign the Stop Tar Sand Production and Keystone Expansion Initiative.

Watch this documentary to learn more: A Crude Awakening - The Oil Crash

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