Concern over Proposed Pipeline

Environmentalists deliver a petition signed by hundreds of concerned citizens to Houston Mayor Annise Parker today. It concerns a proposed pipeline that would transport some of the world's most toxic oil from Canada to Houston and its impact on the environment. Pat Hernandez has more.

Canada's Tar Sands is home to the largest oil extraction project in the world. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would bring the oil to Houston and Port Arthur, where 90-percent of it would be refined. Angela Boag is with the Sierra Club. She says the planned project is one of the largest, dirtiest and most destructive on earth.

"It is therefore crucial that the city push for a supplemental environmental impact statement, so that the project's full impacts are fully studied, and that Houstonians have the opportunity to voice their concerns, in light of those studies."

Boag says the Keystone XL pipeline would transport 700-thousand barrels per day of the toxic sludge from Canada to Houston and Port Arthur to be refined.

"A few of them have been refining some tar sands oil for a few years now, but the three along the ship channel in Houston that will be taking most of this oil will have to have retrofits installed to actually handle the heavier grade of this oil."

The Sierra Club presented the mayor's office with over 500 petition signatures and a letter signed by local organizations, health professionals and elected officials. Bryce Carter says they want Mayor Annise Parker to request a supplemental impact statement from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to ensure that analysis be completed of the project's impact on public health.

"We talked to a lot of people on the streets of Houston and they don't know about this issue, and they are concerned this issue. That's why they signed this petition, to ask the mayor to do the study. And if we lose this opportunity for the public to respond, it's gonna be too late for our city."

Mayor Parker did not comment on the petition. A spokesman for TransCanada, the company that would be moving the crude, said the project is an important part of securing energy across North America.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez


Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...