Just tell Canada no

The N.Y. Daily News reports that up to 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash poison seeped into the Dan River in North Carolina from a Duke Energy power plant on Feb. 7, 2014. The seepage was from a 27-acre storage pond. The waste is known to contain dangerous elements, including mercury, lead, and uranium. A spokesperson for Duke Energy said they didn’t know when or how the seepage could be stopped. They had another “accident” that crushed the leaking pipeline and accidentally stopped the leak. They say they’ll dredge the river, but, the muck was found 20 miles downstream in Danville, Va., in just two days. NBC reports there are 20 or so such ponds in North Carolina already seeping toxins.

Robert Kennedy Jr. said on television soon after the Dan River spill the company had been warned that this coal ash pile posed an immediate threat to the river, but choose to ignore the warnings. If proven, the CEO of Duke Energy should be incarcerated.

West Virginia is dealing with a chemical spill into the Elk River from a decrepit tank farm at Freedom Industries, just upstream from a water treatment plant. Reportedly, inspections at this facility had been few and far between. If negligent, the CEO of Freedom Industries, and/or a government inspector, should be incarcerated.

We don’t jail enough CEO’s. Oil leaks and chemical spills from pipelines, transportation vessels, and storage facilities are all too common. God only knows what fracking will do. Someone must be held accountable.

The Exxon Valdez dumped 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska. Alaska is the place for many spills and mishaps. In 2006, The Christian Science Monitor reported that 500 spills a year occur in the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and along the 800 mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Most are caught before any major damage. Most.

The Katrina hurricane disaster caused an estimated 1.5 million tons of oil to be dumped into the gulf. Over time more than 2 million tons have spilled into the gulf. Still, since the first oil well came in, the top eight largest spills in the world did not even happen in the U.S! Think about that.

In 2011, we had a spill into the beautiful Yellowstone River in Billings, Mont. Exxon had promised that would never happen. It could have happened near you if you lived in Tioga, N. D.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Chicago; Port Arthur, Texas;, New Orleans; Lake Charles, La.; Unalaska Island, Alaska; Brooklyn, N.Y.; or Galveston, Texas. On March 22, Galveston Bay was the site of another spill when a barge carrying 1 million gallons of oil collided with a ship.

There have been oil spills in Honolulu, Coos Bay, Ore.; North Cape, R.I.; Portland, Maine; Sewaren, N. J.; Bolsa Chica St. Beach, Calif.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Guadalupe, Calif., Avila Beach, Calif.; Ocean City, Md.; Marcus Hook, Pa.; (three times), Floreffe, Pa.; the St. Lawrence River; and Longview, Wash., just to name several.

The Keystone XL pipeline is proposed to run right through the heartland of America from Canada to the Gulf, right over the largest water supply in the USA, the Ogallala Aquifer. The backers of this monstrosity, including the Kochs Brothers are rumored to be willing to give billions to the U.S. to fight pollution elsewhere if President Obama will say yes. It’s not worth it, Mr. President. We don’t need their dirty money or oil. Everyday this pipeline will transport 830,000 barrels of one of the dirtiest fuels known to man; raw, toxic, tar sand oil.

What about jobs? It might employ a couple thousand cheap immigrant non-union laborers to build, but it reportedly will only provide 50 permanent jobs. Of course, that’s not counting all those it might take to clean up the toxic oil from the aquifer and beneath the corn and wheat fields once the pipeline, predictably, fractures. The wildlife in our heartland would then be in mortal danger as well.

America’s water supply is being threatened all over this country by toxic chemicals, coal ash and oil being dumped into it. The Keystone XL Pipeline is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. It will threaten rivers, streams, lakes and the water supply for the entire heartland of America. Their supply of potable water could be undrinkable for years. People in the heartland must stand up against this pipeline because their water is much more valuable than raw, toxic, sand bar oil. Toxins kill. Water gives life.

We must tell Canada to take their pipeline and shove it up to Quebec or just shove it.

Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident, can be contacted at glynn@phonewave.net.

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