Blocking Keystone XL doesn’t matter, they’ll ship the Tar Sands Oil via barges on the Great Lakes

Even if the Keystone XL pipeline is blocked, that might not block the shipment of Alberta Tar Sands Oil to refineries.  The “Carbon Bomb” that Bill McKibbon wants us to be afraid of is set of with every shipment of Tar Sands oil to a refinery, so that the oil can be combusted to put more carbon pollution into the atmosphere.  The Alberta oil producers are seeking multiple avenues to get their “product” to the “market” and if the Keystone XL is blocked, they’ll just use another route.

For example, barges through the Great Lakes heading to refineries in Indiana or near Detroit.

That’s the subject of a piece on Huffington Post today referencing a report on GreatLakes.org.

According to the reports, a transportation route is being built to ship Tar Sands “sour crude” from Alberta through the Great Lakes, which would sidestep the Keystone XL pipeline.  Permitting is being sought for a loading dock on Lake Superior to be built by 2015.  A shipping route has been mapped through the Great Lakes.

The company in question, Enbridge, had a big oil spill recently on the Kalamazoo River.

“We’re at a crossroads now, with companies starting to seek permits for new oil terminals,” says Lyman Welch, director of the Alliance’s Water Quality Program and the report’s lead author. “Before our region starts sinking money into shipping terminals for the Great Lakes, our task should be to ask ‘if’ rather than ‘when.’”

Potential oil refinery destinations named include refineries in Whiting, Ind., Lemont, Ill., and possibly Detroit, Mich. near Lake Erie, Sarnia, Ontario on Lake Huron, or even an East Coast refinery.

The Whiting Indiana refinery is already rebuilding itself to handle Tar Sands crude.

Basically, the oil companies are showing no sign of letting up on their rush to develop and exploit all available sources of fossil fuel.  Given today’s call by Prof. James Hansen to sue the Federal Government and force action on climate change, because of the absolute necessity of eliminating fossil fuel consumption, we clearly see a battle that’s already underway.

On the one hand is the fiduciary duty of the oil companies to reap profits for investors.  On the other hand is our need as a species to survive beyond the next 30 years or so.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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