The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Keystone pipeline

Earthquake one of too many risks

Before we jump on the Keystone pipeline bandwagon, consider the residents of Youngstown, Ohio. Ohio is no California, yet Youngstown has had a rash of earthquakes lately (up to 4.0). And what have they traced this anomaly to? The waste water (toxic and radioactive) that results from fracking (used to crack the shale to release the oil) is being brought to Youngstown and pumped into a 2-mile deep well there. The dumping of this toxic waste deep underground has been causing these earthquakes.
Even more disturbing to consider is what happened 20 months ago in Battle Creek, Mich., along the banks of the Kalamazoo River. They had a spill there of bitumen (the tar sands oil that will flow through the Keystone pipeline). They figured, with booms and skimmers, they could clean it up in a couple of months. But bitumen is a heavy sludge that must be suspended in a toxic liquid that evaporates when exposed to air. Exactly what happened to the detriment of Battle Creek residents' health (vomiting; irritation to skin, eyes and respiratory systems). Then the bitumen sank to the bottom of the river. Twenty months later, still searching for a solution, the river is quarantined.
I want to add this thought on the Keystone project. If these Canadian resources are destined for American markets, why are they risking running the pipeline across six states to reach the port of Houston? Why not terminate the pipeline in the wilds of North Dakota, build a giant refinery there, and distribute fuels from there across America? Could it be they want to load on ships and distribute it to the world market so we can compete with China, India and the rest of the world for it? If so, what do we get for risking our environment across the heartland of America? A transit tax?
Rolf A. Hokland
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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

Josh O'Connor, Publisher:

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Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at or 425-339-3472.