Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sad tale of an addict

You may think that you live a healthy lifestyle here in the US of A, that you buy organic foods, exercise, drink purified water, live outside the city...but in reality, each one of us is an addict, an arm itching, nose twitching, sweat soaked addict fiending under the umbrella of or master, black gold. Like most addicts, we have a short term memory when it comes to the ills brought by our seething addiction. For example, the oil spill in the Gulf Coast - remember? Oh, it was so long ago, I know. God forbid we try and remember the spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in the 60s...that's pre-historic.
So, under the guise of a helpful hand, TransCanada, a Calgary based oil big wig, has laid out plans for the Keystone XL project. Sounding more like a super mart where folks in the Heartland would shop, instead it's a proposed pipeline to run through the Heartland. The company is currently awaiting U.S. permission to build the new pipeline originating in Alberta, Canada, and fanning out to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, more than 1,600 miles to the south. Hmmm, Gulf Coast...rings a bell...wait, no, it's gone. TransCanada claims that the pipeline would greatly decrease our reliance on mideastern oil, giving us the ability to drill our own oil on our own soil. How nice. Isn't that kind of like saying you're gonna drive down the street to get coke instead of to Vegas? You're still getting coke - you could still see the consequences of your dumb shit actions. But hey, at least you'll be close to home. Residents, mostly farmers, are worried that not only their homes, but their livelihoods are at stake with this proposed pipeline. After all, many of them depend on the soil to survive and if that shit's soaked in oil, not too many people are gonna want their corn on their table.
TransCanada claims however, that even though two small leaks have been reported it wasn't enough to cause alarm. They were, "very, very small, isolated incidents." Well, that's nice. I feel so cozy and safe. Furthermore, the source of this oil pipeline is Canada's fuel-rich sand, home to what the Natural Resources Defense Council calls "some of the dirtiest, most destructive oil on the face of the Earth." In order to process and refine the oil, it requires strip mining valuable forests. Also, burning this form of oil yields more pollution than other kinds of oil. Oh, goody. Here, I have an idea - why don't we go score some coke, but on the way, let's stop and set a couple of houses on fire, shoot an old lady and overturn a dumpster in a national forest. Coooool.
On the oil spill side, guess what? Oil companies are in charge of their own safety measures so we don't have dick to say about how secure those pipelines are. Normally the cause of a failed line is corrosion, but when you've got heavy farming equipment poking around in the soil, you could easily scrape the line and get more than your usual harvest. And in the path of Keystone XL lies the High Plains Aquifier, which
covers an area of 175,000 square miles, supplies water to more than 1.9 million people, includes 27 percent of all irrigated land in the U.S., accounts for about 30 percent of all U.S. ground water used for irrigation, lies in a region that supplies 19 percent of U.S. wheat, 15 percent of U.S. corn and 18 percent of U.S. beef.
It's no secret that big oil has the nuts of this country in a salad shooter. When oil company reps came and knocked on the doors of the homes that would be affected by previous pipelines, it wasn't so much a question as it was a statement: "this pipeline's gonna run through here, get used to it." Many families feel let down, not only by their local governments but by the system as a whole. The idea that the land of the free has no freedom to discuss whether or not they feel comfortable with thousands of barrels of oil rushing through their backyard everyday, doesn't seem particularly free.
The State Department will have the final say in the matter regarding Keystone XL, but as for the other pipelines already laid, it's a ticking time bomb. Pipelines fail, as we've noticed, people fuck up, computers break down. There is no fail safe for environmental and economical disaster. When was the last time you heard a junkie make an honest, sensical proposal on how his addiction can be maintained and orderly? You don't. We don't. The only cure here is to kick the habit. It will take time, for sure. It will take a long time. But you don't treat the illness with more venom. Stop this black gold drug fest. Step away from the pipe syringe. Step away.

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