Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF)

November 19, 2012;
TransCanada's Threats to the Douglass Independent School District in Nacogdoches County, Texas

Contributing Writer

As a parent who visited Douglass I.S.D. on numerous occasions for Little Dribblers tournaments, and later, for Junior High & High School basketball and baseball games, I am very concerned for other parents and their children about the proximity of TransCanada's Keystone XL, tar sands pipeline to the school and its facilities.

As a former teacher whose day-to-day life was spent in a school environment similar to that of the Douglass system, I am very concerned for my fellow professional educators and their students about the proximity of TransCanada's Keystone XL, tar sands pipeline to the school and its facilities.

My concern arises from the fact that the D.I.S.D. baseball diamond is less than 800 feet from the pipeline; the Ag Barn is less than 800 feet from the pipeline. The classrooms and gym are only 1800 feet from the pipeline.

The Voluntary Evacuation Zone1, or “Kill Zone,” based on the 2010 diluted tar sands bitumen spill from the pipeline rupture in Michigan, is one mile from the pipeline. Pipelines, especially tar sands pipelines, leak. The toxic vapors released in a tar sands, dilbit spill form deadly ground-hugging clouds of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons like benzene, and toluene, and other deadly vapors like hydrogen sulfide.

The Texas Administrative Code rule regarding “Hazardous Liquids and Carbon Dioxide Pipelines or Pipeline Facilities Located Within 1,000 Feet of a Public School Building or Facility”2 states:

Each pipeline owner and operator to which this section applies shall:

(1)upon written request from a school district, provide in writing the following parts of a pipeline emergency response plan that are relevant to the school:

(A) a description and map of the pipeline facilities that are within 1,000 feet of the school building or facility;
(B) a list of any product transported in the segment of the pipeline that is within 1,000 feet of the school facility;
(C) the designated emergency number for the pipeline facility operator;
(D) information on the state's excavation one-call system; and
(E) information on how to recognize, report, and respond to a product release; and

(2) mail a copy of the requested items by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the superintendent of the school district in which the school building or facility is located.

The above begs the questions:

“Do the Superintendent and members of the School Board of Douglass I.S.D. have all of the information pertaining to the diluted tar sands bitumen (dilbit) that will be carried through TransCanada's Keystone XL, Gulf Coast segment pipeline?”

“If not, is it not prudent of them to make this request, and for TransCanada to supply them with all the information?”

Are our children's lives, and the lives of our educators worth the risk of the inevitable leak or spill from a tar sands pipeline like TransCanada's Keystone XL?

1 (this site provides the overlays, and along with Google Earth, shows the VEZ for the Keystone XL in Nacogdoches County)

<- Back to the Post