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Special Tar Sands Section

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Update: Opposition to Proposed Pipeline and Tar Sands Threatening Mobile's Drinking Water

Recently we learned that Canadian National Railway (CN) is shipping Canadian tar sands oil, sometimes called bitumen or heavy crude, into Mobile on heated rail cars like the ones that recently exploded in Canada. Because tar sands oil does not flow, it will need to be offloaded using a steaming process. ARC Terminals, which is also in the process of expanding their tank farm storage facility, has applied for a permit to build a rail car unloading facility on a leased parcel of property at 56 Beauregard Street (near downtown Mobile) and to then pump the oil to tanks on Blakely Island. We suspect (but have not confirmed) that a controversial forty-one mile long pipeline currently under construction by Plains Southcap will be used to move the tar sands oil from Mobile, through the Big Creek Lake watershed, to the Chevron refinery in Pascagoula, MS. Big Creek Lake is the sole source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of residents in the metro-Mobile area.

See this information from MobileBayKeeper: What’s so amazing about the job of being the Mobile Baykeeper and yet so completely challenging is how often we are faced with a new issue that our local community has never had to address.  The latest is oil and gas pipelines and the transportation of differing types of crude oil.  While crude oil is piped and transported across the nation on a regular basis, more and more accidents are occurring that require the community take a very close look at each project before simply signing off.

Our first step in any new project is research, so to begin to answer the question posed to us fairly regularly of late, we have to tease out the pieces.  First off, there are two separate pipelines that will affect our community: Pipeline 1) GCAC’s Mobile River pipeline and Pipeline 2) Plains Southcap, LLC Mobile to Mississippi line.  Both will be carrying crude oil, but only one – that we know – will carry tar sands crude oil.  Click here to learn why tar sands is worrying communities across the United States and Canada. (more of the commentary here) (from Carol Adams-Davis, Mobile Bay Sierra Club)