Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obama's last chance to earn any volunteer work from me

It's bad enough Barack Obama is actively working to help cover up and grant immunity to financial industry crimes, [UPDATE: more about which here], but if he fails to heed the largest environmental protests of recent times and block the Keystone XL pipeline, then he's clearly just a one-term anti-environmental putz.

• Jim Hansen's now-famous "game over" letter is here.

• The facts about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline are available here, and include:
1. For every barrel of tar sand oil produced, six barrels of freshwater from the Athabasca River are polluted and stored in 30 square mile toxic ponds that sit adjacent to the river.
2. These ponds are already leaking over 3 million gallons of toxic water into the Athabasca River every day.

3. The pipeline is set to cross over the Ogalalla Aquifer which irrigates one-third of all crops in the Midwest and provides eight states with drinking water.

4. Producing a barrel of Tar Sand oil emits three times more greenhouse gases than producing a barrel of conventional oil.

5. Extraction of the Tar Sands requires permanently disturbing one of the largest, intact old-growth forests left on Earth. The destruction of this forest will destroy habitat and prevent the boreal forest from providing ecosystem services that at present moment are catching and storing carbon from our climate.

6. If this pipeline and current development of the tar sands continues as planned, it will release twice as many greenhouse gases as are currently produced by all the cars and trucks in Canada.

7. Scientific research predicts that more than 166 million birds will die from habitat loss and drowning in the toxic pools over the next 30-50 years if development continues as planned.

8. Large game species are exhibiting tumors and mutations as a result of consuming toxic water. Nearby moose have been found to have over 33 times the safe amount of arsenic in their meat, a staple for indigenous populations.

9. Communities downstream from the tar sands are already exhibiting respiratory problems, rare forms of cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.

10. The Koch Brothers, the same corporation dedicated to spreading lies about climate change and funding the tea party, is set to be the primary profiteer from building this pipeline.

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