skip to main content

→ Top Stories:
Clean Power plan
Safe Chemicals

Brant Olson’s Blog

What Keystone XL Means for California

Brant Olson

Posted February 12, 2013

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Share | | |

Most of the debate over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has focused on water quality impacts in the Midwest and the global climate. But its approval holds wider implications for the future of North American energy infrastructure -- and for California in particular. 

Keystone XL is just one of several multi-billion dollar pipeline projects designed to move oil from the land-locked tar sands of Alberta to sea ports that are the key to unlocking global markets. The proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline would send up to 500 thousand barrels per day to Kitimat, British Columbia, for export to Asian markets and to California. The Golden State, one of the largest crude oil market in the U.S., is expected to get half the oil supplied by Enbridge Gateway Pipeline. Refineries in California are already beginning to process tar sands.

The good news is that California’s clean energy law, also known as AB 32, and policies like the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, discourage expansion of dirty fuels including tar sands crude from being refined in California. The bad news is that the oil industry is mounting an aggressive campaign to derail implementation of clean fuel policies in the state. Their objective is clear: import more tar sands and other dirty crude oil into California no matter the cost to the climate.

Discouraging dirty fuel expansion from our state will help curb climate pollution and improve the health of California’s most vulnerable communities. And by reducing demand for tar sands crude, we’ll also help Canadians fighting dirty oil pipelines.

Forward on ClimateOn Feb. 17, NRDC will join more than 20,000 expected to descend on our nation’s Capital to call for strong action on climate--action that begins with rejecting dirty tar sands pipelines like Keystone XL and limiting climate pollution. Here in California, we’ll also be joining thousands taking action in San Francisco and Los Angeles to stand against dirty energy.

Join  to deliver a message to California lawmakers that we won’t stand down in the face of oil industry bullying.

Share | | |


C S GilliamFeb 17 2013 01:06 AM

Alberta can build 30++ state of the art refineries for their dirty tar sludge much cheaper than building pipelines to send the nasty stuff all the way across the nation and the state of Texas to the Gulf Coast. It would make better sense for them to refine it up there then ship it down in a cleaner condition. We have tornadoes, hurricaines and big Gulf Oil Spills, and that beautiful southern Gulf Breeze that blows northward through the eastern half of Texas and up the middle to eastern part of the country. Whatever toxic poisons that will bypass even the best safety equipment made, will be carried north and east without fail.
There is another big concern of mine. By whatever means refineries "refine" the oil, there is waste. With the tar sands, it is easy to assume the volume of the waste will be much, much greater. My question "Exactly how is this extremely toxic waste product going to be disposed of?" Can't dump it in the Gulf, can't pump it down a hole. How is that to be handled please?
Lastly, THERE WILL BE ACCIDENTS. It is inevitable; any product being pushed down a pipeline, through compressors, through refineries, transported on ships or tank trucks, there will be accidents.It is just a matter of where and how bad it affects our planet and ultimately our lives.
We can't have it both ways, cleaner air, water, soil with efforts to slow down climate change AND drill, drill,drill and move the toxic stuff all over our country. Yet, politically, it is full steam ahead! Make any sense to you?

Comments are closed for this post.


Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

Feeds: Stay Plugged In