For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Alex Moore,, 202-222-0733
Scott Baumgartner,, 202-222-0751

Kalamazoo Spill Underscores Dangers of Proposed Tar Sands Oil Pipeline from Canada to Gulf Coast

As Obama administration weighs approval of Keystone XL pipeline, massive oil spill threatens Lake Michigan

WASHINGTON - This week, a pipeline carrying oil from Canada into the U.S.
ruptured, spilling more than a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo
River in Michigan. Crews are attempting to prevent the spilled oil from
reaching Lake Michigan, where it could cause catastrophic environmental

Before this week’s oil spill, federal officials criticized Enbridge,
the Canadian tar sands oil giant that owns the pipeline, for ignoring
corrosion that compromised the pipeline’s integrity.

TransCanada, another major Canadian tar sands oil company, is currently seeking Obama administration approval for its proposed Keystone XL
tar sands oil pipeline, which would travel 1,700 miles from Canada to
refineries near Houston. The company is also seeking a safety waiver
that would allow it to use thinner-than-normal steel and pump oil at a
higher-than-normal pressure.

Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth, had the following statement regarding this week’s events:

“This disastrous oil spill in Michigan is yet another wake-up call to
the tragic impacts of our oil dependence. Coming on the heels of the
Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, this spill reinforces
the need for us to build a clean energy economy, not more pipelines.

“Enbridge and other oil companies like BP have deliberately cut
corners on safety without respect for the people or communities they put
at risk. President Obama should take a long, hard look at this disaster
and deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, the next on Big Oil’s
wish list.”

For months, ranchers, environmentalists, and public health advocates
have challenged TransCanada’s plans to build another pipeline to carry
the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada’s tar sands into the United States.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently handed the State
Department’s draft analysis of the proposed pipeline’s environmental
impacts a failing grade, in part because it failed to address the
dangers the pipeline would pose to communities along its path.

The Keystone XL pipeline would cross 71 rivers and streams including
the Ogallala Aquifer, putting water supplies and the environment at
risk. The Ogallala, which is the nation’s largest aquifer, provides
drinking and agricultural water for eight states and supports one-fifth
of the wheat, corn, cotton, and cattle produced in the United States.


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