Reviving Polluting Pipelines Poisons Our Health

BY ON February 7, 2017

Polluting power plant illustration


Here in Oklahoma, the Keystone XL Pipeline is already up and running. I’ve been writing about the pipeline for almost six years now because I feel a personal connection. The Keystone XL Pipeline runs about 20-30 miles from my house, crossing a creek that also traverses my grandparent’s land.

There was a time when it seemed Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines could be stopped. We had won hard fought battles and I was feeling hopeful. But now, President Trump is taking us back to a time when pollution ran rampant. He recently signed executive orders reviving the Keystone XL Pipeline and once again speeding up the Dakota Access Pipeline –another pipeline that got my attention because of my Native American roots.

The day after President Trump signed these executive orders, a pipeline leaked 47,000 gallons of diesel fuel mix in Iowa. That pipeline is owned by Magellan Midstream Partners, a company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s also the same company that earlier this month agreed to pay $18 million for three different spills in three states; Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is taking legal action to fight Trump’s decision on the Dakota Access Pipeline because it “risks contaminating tribal and American water supplies while disregarding treaty rights.”

Meanwhile, President Trump boasts that pipelines create many jobs. But most of these are temporary jobs. The expectation for Keystone XL Pipeline is that 35 permanent jobs would be created. Meanwhile, US solar power now employs more people than the oil, gas, and coal industries combined.

My own senators are also praising the pipelines, even with a pipeline leak impacting Oklahoma earlier this month. Sen. Inhofe echoed Trump talking about job creation in a press release:

“Keystone XL and Dakota Access will create thousands of jobs across the country and in Oklahoma as we take a crucial step toward energy independence. I look forward to working with the president to remove the regulatory barriers that have hindered the buildout of our nation’s energy infrastructure.”- Sen. Inhofe

There was more of the same from Sen. Lankford in his press release:

“I applaud today’s executive actions from the President to move the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines forward, along with the thousands of jobs that come with it.”- Sen. Lankford

Along with the long-term impacts climate change will have on our health, pipelines pose an immediate threat to our air and water. And, as Sen. Bernie Sanders said of Pres. Trump’s actions,

“…the pipelines will put the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the future of our planet.”

Prioritizing polluters over public health and the planet, the Trump administration has proposed the worst possible energy policies.

Americans deserve up-to-date climate and health science, environmental regulations that protect human and animal health, and jobs that move us away from polluting fossil fuels to clean energy.



TOPICS: Climate Change, Oklahoma, Politics