The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Alex Moore, 202-222-0733,
Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722,

Canadian Pipeline Firm Calls Off Effort to Skirt Safety Standards

TransCanada concedes to pressure, withdraws safety waiver application for proposed dirty tar sands oil pipeline


As reported by Senator Jon Tester, TransCanada, the
Canadian firm seeking approval from the Obama administration to build a massive
new tar sands oil pipeline into the United States, will withdraw its
application for a safety waiver from the Department of Transportation.

The pipeline, called Keystone XL, would
transport tar sands oil, the dirtiest form of oil available, from Canada to the
Gulf Coast of Texas. The safety waiver, officially called a "special
permit," would have allowed TransCanada to cut costs by constructing the
pipeline with thinner-than-normal steel and pumping the toxic oil at pressures
that exceed the normally allowed limits.

Last week's spill of more than one
million gallons of oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River by another tar
sands oil pipeline - the largest spill in Midwest history - has
heightened concerns about pipeline safety. TransCanada's first Keystone
pipeline, which started pumping oil in June, has already spilled twice, even
before reaching full capacity.

Alex Moore, Dirty Fuels Campaigner at
Friends of the Earth, had the following statement in response to
TransCanada's announcement:

"TransCanada's decision is a
step in the right direction, but it won't make this pipeline safe. Only a
decision by President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and the toxic
oil it would carry can ultimately protect the air, water and lands of
communities in its path.

"TransCanada's concession will
not eliminate the risk that this pipeline could spill and contaminate our
nation's largest aquifer, the Ogallala, which provides drinking water for
two million Americans. The TransCanada move also does nothing to address the
increased risks of asthma and lung disease that tar sands oil refineries would
pose to Texas communities or the cancer hot spots already emerging downstream
from tar sands oil extraction sites in Canada.

"The only way the Obama
administration can prevent this pipeline from inflicting harm is to keep it
from being built."

Friends of the Earth fights for a more healthy and just world. Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

(202) 783-7400