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Keystone Pipeline Called Vulnerable To Terrorist Attacks

A new report says the proposed Canada-U.S. Keystone XL pipeline would be an easy target for a terrorist attack that could create an environmental disaster.

David M. Cooper, a retired command master chief of the U.S. Navy SEALs who conducted the vulnerability study for NextGen Climate America, told The Huffington Post that it would take only a few terrorists with some basic hand tools and a small amount of explosives to conduct “a coordinated attack along just a few key nodes along that pipeline in the span of just really minutes.”

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would transport Canadian oil recovered from sands in eastern Alberta through western and central American states to the Gulf of Mexico coast of Texas. Supporters say it would help make the United States more energy independent. Opponents say it’s an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

Cooper, a decorated 25-year veteran of the Navy’s special forces, shares the latter view. “That's an Exxon Valdez-level oil spill right in the middle of America,” he said.

The U.S. State Department is in the process of deciding whether the pipeline would be in the U.S. national interest. It has repeatedly postponed making a decision while it waits for legal challenges to the pipeline’s route through Nebraska to be resolved.

Related Article: Defective Pipeline Concerns Prompt New Rules For Keystone XL

Next Gen Climate’s report says there is scant security along the pipeline’s route, despite assurances to the contrary by TransCanada Corp., which owns the pipeline. Cooper said he scouted areas in Nebraska where the pipeline is expected to pass and concluded, “there was no security.”

As a result, Cooper said, a successful attack on the pipeline in that area would likely disgorge 1.2 million gallons of oil, fouling drinking water and farmland. Even more oil – over 7 million gallons – could be spilled if several coordinated attacks along the pipeline took place, he said.

NextGen Climate America was founded by billionaire hedge fund manager, philanthropist and environmentalist Tom Steyer.

The group said the 14-page report on the Keystone XL pipeline was carefully redacted to remove any information that could aid would-be terrorists.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

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  • Terry Willis on June 16 2014 said:
    Unbelievably shallow and nebulous article underwritten by a person with questionable motives. What are the qualifications and credentials of those that "contributed" to this article. I would invite any thinking person to critically evaluate the article and strike out the elements that are lacking in supporting data or factual bases. Not much left.
  • Martin Katchen on June 09 2014 said:
    Coming from someone like Tom Steyer, who has vested interests in "alternative" energy in his hedge fund, a "warning" like that might be interpreted as a not so veiled "Chicago style" threat (Nice pipeline you're trying to build. I wouldn't want anything to happen to it). Perhaps (though it would be a stretch, and won't be prosecuted unless a Republican wins the White House in 2016) it might even be prosecutable under the Patriot Act. Keystone, if built, WILL affect the Persian Gulf and OPEC's and Venezuela's share of the oil market after all.
  • David Sigmon on June 09 2014 said:
    As a former Navy SEAL with 23 years in uniform, the last six working as a military and law enforcement intel analyst, I believe I am qualified to state that Master Chief Cooper's assessment of the yet to be built Keystone pipeline, applies to all pipelines around the globe. And the refineries. And the drilling fields. And the shipping facilities. And the storage facilities. And let's not forget the millions of service stations sprinkled generously throughout every city, town, and crossroads community throughout our country. And everyone else's country.

    No country in the world has a totally secure pipeline infrastructure. Nothing in this world will ever be absolutely secure from terrorism. Or accidents. Or human error. Or vandalism. Or mechanical failure. Or a teenage deer hunter with a high calibre rifle and poor aim.

    The question to ask, as it always will be regardless of which channel of the media is conveying the message, is who is paying for the service rendered which alarms us. In this case, who is paying for the vulnerability study? Might it be some group with an agenda other than a rational and reasonable examination of the facts? And was the former SEAL hired because SEALs are perceived to have more credibility when it comes to any and all terrorism related issues. And, it is presumed no one will ask if the SEAL's background goes beyond target evaluation, vulnerability, and execution. Does the SEAL have schooling, knowledge, or skills related to pipeline planning, engineering, construction, or maintenance?

    Does any of the above really matter when this is simply another case of the public being played by those with deep pockets using the media for their own agenda? This is just more politics. Biased organizations with focused agendas or private supporters of politicians playing their part of the reelection game to achieve their agendas of maintaining influence and control regardless of whether or not it is for the good of our society, our future, or the individual citizens who make up the public who pays their salary. As is obvious this time around, Fox News, MSNBC, The Tea Party, and Republicans are not the only players in this game of smoke and mirrors.

    Be it Unconventional Warfare or Unconventional Politics. There are countless common denominators. And we all know, SEALs, politicians, and the media are masters of the game.
  • Simonh on June 09 2014 said:
    Cooper said he scouted areas in Nebraska where the pipeline is expected to pass and concluded, “there was no security.”

    That's because there's no pipeline there yet - no pipeline - no security.

    The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS)has been operating since 1977 is 800 miles long through some of the most remote areas in the country. I'm sure if it can survive so can KXL.

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