Call out CEOs of Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper
|© Alex Garland|
SEATTLE – A group of concerned citizens staged a human tar sands spill on the steps of Seattle City Hall today, the two-year anniversary of the costliest pipeline disaster in history. Two years after an Enbridge, Inc. pipeline burst spilling nearly a million gallons of toxic tar sands chemicals into the Kalamazoo River, parts of the river are still off limits due to the cleanup effort.
“The use of tar sands is a choice that could haunt us for centuries,” said Seattle writer and activist Emily Johnston. “It's a sign of astonishing recklessness on the part of the fossil fuel companies, and as citizens, we have to come together to make it clear they can't do this in our names."
Today’s event highlights the dangers that a tar sands disaster could have on the Puget Sound. Pipeline proposals to bring tar sands to Canada’s west coast could see the number of tankers loaded with tar sands tripling in waters of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea. Washington is also home to refineries that use feed stocks from the tar sands, producing elevated levels of pollution in the process.
“While national attention has been focused on the Keystone pipeline connecting Canadian tar sands to Texas refineries, Kinder Morgan has been quietly increasing the throughput of these heavy, toxic oils through their pipeline to Vancouver and Washington refineries,” said Fred Felleman, NW Consultant, Friends of the Earth. “Their latest expansion plans will result in approximately 600 tankers plying the already traffic-laden waterways, significantly increasing the risk of a toxic tar sand spill in the critical habitat of the endangered southern resident orca community.”
Seventeen municipalities in British Columbia, the city of Bellingham, 131 first nations and sixteen major US companies have publicly taken positions that express deep concern about the environmental and social costs of Canada’s tar sands.
A coalition of concerned citizens in Seattle has been working with the city council to craft a resolution opposing fuel with extreme impacts like that from tar sands refineries, similar to one passed in Bellingham in 2010.
“The bad news is, the oil might spill. The worse news is, even if it doesn’t, the Canadian tar sands are one of the planet’s biggest carbon bombs,” said KC Golden, Policy Director at Climate Solutions and a 350.org Board Member. “The good news is, we can take our energy dollars back from the oil companies and invest them in building a healthier Seattle, with better transportation choices and a stronger local economy.”