THE BLOG
06/12/2013 02:48 pm ET Updated Aug 12, 2013

National Republican Congressional Committee: Blinded by Science?

Let me blow your mind for a second: When you put rocks in water, they sink.

Advanced scientific concept, huh? Seems so, at least to our friends over at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Earlier this month, Rep. Raúl Grijalva made the point about the rocks in a great video demonstrating the dangers of the Keystone XL, the massive oil pipeline the oil industry wants to build from Canada to Texas. In his video Grijalva dropped bits of rock-like tar sands oil -- the same form that's produced when it's mined -- into a beaker of water to show how they sank right to the bottom.

The point? When tar sands oil spills from a pipeline and into a river or stream, it goes straight to the bottom and becomes nearly impossible to clean up. (And Keystone XL will spill -- the State Department predicts as many as 100 times during its lifetime.)

The NRCC, though, apparently didn't like Grijalva's science lesson, so it launched an attack that was, well, bizarrely vacuous.

Check out the Center for Biological Diversity's counterpunch; then share it with your friends and social media contacts.

One thing's clear in this debate over Keystone: It ought to be driven by facts and sound science. And the facts are these: The 1,700-mile pipeline would worsen the climate crisis, threaten hundreds of rivers and streams, pass through the habitat of at least 20 imperiled species (like whooping cranes) and further the destruction of Canada's incredible boreal forests, where the tar sands are mined.

And that's not to mention the spills. Yes, up to 100 during Keystone's lifetime is the estimate. If you want to see the kind of destruction that a tar sands spill would produce, just ask those who live along the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, where 800,000 gallons were spilled from a pipeline in 2010. Or residents of Mayflower, Ark., where 400,000 gallons of tar sands crude spilled into their neighborhood in March.

The decision on Keystone XL will ultimately be made by President Obama, likely later this year. He doesn't need to be a science buff to know this pipeline is a terrible idea.