03/25/2014 03:45 pm ET Updated May 25, 2014

Not Just Another Pipeline: The Truth About Tar Sands and Keystone XL

Cross-posted from

According to the tar sands lobby, Keystone XL is just another pipeline -- but this couldn't be further from the truth.

When an oil company executive tells American families that we don't need to be concerned with tar sands pipeline safety, it's not only misleading, it's insulting. Tell that to the people of Mayflower, Arkansas, where more than 200,000 gallons of dirty tar sands oil spilled from ExxonMobil's Pegasus pipeline last spring, soaking their homes, land and water.

Nearly one year later, the recovery effort in Mayflower is still incomplete. A contributing factor? Heavy, thick tar sands oil that's nothing like conventional oil, making it uniquely difficult to clean up.

Like the Pegasus pipeline, TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline will also carry tar sands oil, a fact the company prefers to avoid. "Oil is oil," a TransCanada executive told us early last week. But that's flat-out not true. Tar sands oil is dirtier, more corrosive and worse for the environment than conventional oil.

Let's set the record straight -- Keystone XL is not just another oil pipeline; Keystone XL is a tar sands pipeline. And this week, NextGen Climate is launching a new educational series to tell Americans what they really need to know about tar sands, a "Tar Sands Crash Course."

We'll cover everything from how the Canadian tar sands are different than conventional oil to what happens when tar sands oil spills in American communities. We'll also address how tar sands oil impacts us all through toxic byproducts, waste and carbon pollution.

TransCanada has made clear that they want to hide the facts about tar sands oil. But we aren't going to let that happen.

Subscribe here to get our Tar Sands Crash Course series.