That 600-mile long, 600,000 barrels per day proposed line runs from Flanagan, Illinois - located in the north central part of the state -- down to Cushing, Oklahoma, dubbed the "pipeline crossroads of the world."
The mid-term outlook for even marginal players in Canadian oil sands looks optimistic. The energy tides may be shifting, however, suggesting that while production may gain steam, Canada's heavy reliance on heavy crude may run off the rail.
O'Brien's has had its hands in the botched clean-up efforts of almost every high-profile oil spill disaster in recent U.S. history, including the Exxon Valdez spill, the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, the Enbridge tar sands pipeline spill into the Kalamazoo River, and Hurricane Sandy.
Pipeline companies like Transcanada, Enbridge, Shell and Kinder Morgan remind me of guys who just won't take no for an answer. They're going to keep coming back no matter what we tell them, unless we cut them off for good.
The very nature of tar sands -- heavy and abrasive -- points to why tar sands pipelines have an abysmal safety record. But a drastically increased likelihood of spills is only where the problems begin.
The Kalamazoo River spill undercuts all the safety claims about speedy response (it took them more than 17 hours to shut the pipeline down) and leak detection (the spill was identified by a staffer from a natural gas utility in Michigan).
On July 25, 2010, an oil company spilled more than a million gallons of toxic tar sands crude just a few miles from Susan Connolly's house. As the spill spread, they could smell the fumes. But it wasn't until later that night that they realized something was seriously wrong
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) heard the major findings of its two-year investigation of the Enbridge tar sands pipeline spill, which released more than a million gallons of corrosive tar sands into the Kalamazoo River watershed in July 2010.