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Action Taken Calling for Stronger Standards for Tar Sands Pipelines

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Mark Westlund, mark.westlund@sierraclub.org, 415-977-5719

Washington, D.C. -- Yesterday, a broad coalition of landowners, former and current government officials, environmental organizations (including the Sierra Club), renewable energy promoters and sportsmen’s groups filed a petition to with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking the agencies to develop stronger safety standards for tar sands oil pipelines. Tar sands crude is pumped through the pipelines at a much higher pressure than conventional oil, which poses a higher risk for pipeline failure.

The petition requests a halt to new or expanded tar sands pipelines until adequate rules are in place.

In response, Michael Marx, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Oil campaign, released the following statement:

“Tar sands crude is the most dangerous oil on earth. Not only is it accountable for significantly greater carbon pollution emissions than conventional oil, which will destroy our climate, it is also highly corrosive and toxic, so when pipelines rupture it is nearly impossible to clean up.  

"The Sierra Club is honored to be part of the coalition petitioning the federal government to put an immediate stop to any and all new pipelines that will carry tar sands crude. It's going on three years since the Enbridge pipeline spilled over 1 million gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo river, and clean-up is ongoing -- the marshlands and farmlands will never be the same. 

"We can't afford any more tar sands oil spill disasters, especially along the proposed Keystone XL route, which cuts through the farms that feed America.  Under the current standards for tar sands pipelines, it's not a question of if a spill will occur, but when."          

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