Effects of Tar Sands Oil in Michigan

Susan Connelly discusses the harmful effects of the tar sand oil spill that occurred in her community and family.

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Keystone XL Threatens Air Quality for Surrounding Communities

We have all read about Keystone XL pipeline’s adverse effects can have an impact on the environment as a whole, but I want to take a closer look at how it affects the air quality in the surrounding areas. According to National Nurses United, more than 40 percent of Americans live in areas affected by air pollution with levels of particle pollution that can cause higher incidents of asthma, heart attacks, and premature death. This statistic could worsen for people living in areas near the Keystone XL. The Keystone XL will multiply carbon emissions are a major factor in intensifying climate change; that higher air temperatures can increase bacteria-related food poisoning, such as salmonella. The ground level ozone contaminants can damage lung tissue, reduce lung function, and increase respiratory ailments.

Based on a report done by Jeffrey Simpson from The Globe and Mail, bitumen oil produces 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions per barrel than crude oil refined in the U.S. He went on to say that, bitumen oil shipped via Keystone would produce somewhere between 1.3 and 27.4 million metric tons more carbon a year than heavy oil now being used in the Gulf refineries – the equivalent of emissions from 270,833 to 5,708,333 passenger vehicles, or from 0.4 to 7.8 coal-fired power plants. Based on an operation run by the Koch brothers, they have created petcoke, which has proven to be significantly harmful to the environment. Forest ethics estimates that if production triples as the industry wants, it would mean a 230 percent increase in nitrogen oxides pollution, a 160 percent increase in sulphur dioxide emissions, and a 190 percent increase in particulate matter – each of these can damage both human and environmental health.

The harmful effects of the Keystone XL if the project continues to 2030.

The harmful effects of the Keystone XL if the project continues to 2030.

So what is petcoke? Petcoke is a refining byproduct of tar sands oil, and when burned is substantially dirtier than coal and contributes drastically to greenhouse gas pollution. Numerous parties invested in this pipeline fail to mention these facts because it would effect the profit they would make off of the Keystone XL. The price of increasing climate change and health risks is a far higher risks for the residents who will be affected by this pipeline.

Toxic black dust covers a working class community in south Chicago when strong winds pick up Koch Industries owned petcoke piled high along the Calumet River.

Toxic black dust covers a working class community in south Chicago when strong winds pick up Koch Industries owned petcoke piled high along the Calumet River.

Everyone deserves to have access to clean air, so we shouldn’t let the Keystone XL take that away from them.

Meet the Bloggers Pt. 5

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Hi everyone, my name is Jasmine Blakley and I am a junior sociology major at the University of Maryland, College Park.

I first heard about Keystone XL while watching MSNBC when commentators were passionately stating there cases, but I never took a position because I didn’t have enough knowledge about it. So when we decided to do this topic, it became a great chance for me to learn about something that could affect millions of people and the environment.

So what do I think? While advocates of the Keystone XL claim it will create millions of jobs and prevent collision accidents of rail trains transporting oil, there are fallacies with this logic. First, the assertion that it would create jobs and that is a reason why we should build this is misleading because states like Nebraska and Oklahoma could create jobs by investing in alternative energy sources instead of oil. This could bring money to the states’ economies and be environmentally friendly. If they invested in other energy sources, there wouldn’t be a high demand to transport oil via rail trains, which would limit the amount of collisions and harm to the environment. There are many people in this country who have passionate opinions about this topic and I believe it is important to take into account both sides.