Sample Local Letter

Fill in [your specifics] and modify as needed.
To: [A North Texas City Council]

Subj: Threat Assessment Needed for Proposed Tar Sands Oil Pipeline over DFW Watershed.

By now most of us have heard about Canadian tar sands and the proposed Keystone pipeline that would carry what many regard as the most problematic source of crude oil from Canada to refineries along the U.S. Gulf coast. As new construction this pipeline is at least in principle subject to environmental and public health assessment. It posses the most significant threat to our neighbors in East Texas. However, there is a second pipeline that could pose a more direct threat to DFW water supplies.

There is apparently a proposal by Enbridge Inc. to pump tar sands through an existing 36 year old pipeline that currently carries product from the Gulf to Cushing Oklahoma. Now it is being "re-purposed" to carry "heavy crude" from Cushing to the Gulf. While the initial purpose, may be to carry the "glut" of conventional crude from Cushing to the coast, it is intended to carry Canadian tar sands as well.

This re-purposed "Seaway" pipeline, as it is called, crosses numerous local rivers and streams - including tributaries to Lake Lavon and both segments of Richland Chambers Lake, major water supplies for DFW area communities. The Seaway also crosses the Trinity aquifer, the most important aquifer to our region.

As a [North Texas City] resident, I am concerned that the re-purposed Seaway pipeline could pose a threat to our already scarce water supply and may represent a fiscal liability to the North Texas (region C) water districts, and ultimately to the city and its residents.

Tar sands bitumen blend is far more toxic than conventional crude, carrying hazardous chemicals and making spills more likely and more dangerous. A one million gallon Enbridge tar sands spill in Michigan devastated almost 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River, requiring evacuations, making people sick, contaminating water and destroying property. The Enbridge spill is the largest tar sands incident in U.S. history. Two years later after a $720 million failed clean up, the Kalamazoo remains highly polluted and the company's own insurance provider may not cover all the clean up costs.

It is my understanding that this pipeline could be pumping crude, possibly tar sands, as early as mid-May. As an existing pipeline it is not clear whether any additional permitting, or impact assessments will be required.

I request that the council consider the impact of this pipeline and use its influence with the North Texas Municipal Water District, Region C Water Planning Committee and other responsible agencies to ensure that this pipeline does not endanger our water supply.

I believe that an Environmental Impact Statement for the Seaway needs to be done now to assess possible impacts to our water supply. And, that an emergency response plan should be requested before this re-purposed pipeline comes online to ensure water supplies and air quality is protected.

Thank you,
[Your Name and Address]