The Plains All American Red River Pipeline project would be a 16-inch pipeline running 350 miles from Cushing, OK to Longview, TX, and would pump 110,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Gulf Coast refineries where it would then be turned into fuel and other petroleum-based products, and potentially exported to foreign markets.
The Red River pipeline threatens land and water for both Tribal Nations and neighboring ranches and farming communities, who have been sued by the company using eminent domain for private gain and seizure of their land for the pipeline. (1)
Plains All American rerouted the pipeline project, which now goes straight through Indian Country — including lands of the Absentee Shawnee, Citizen Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Sac and Fox, and Chickasaw nations — as well as through lower income areas in northeast Cleveland County.
The purposeful siting of pollution-causing and climate-damaging infrastructure projects in economically depressed communities that lack financial resources to fight them amounts to “environmental racism.”
Tribal Nations also claim that the pipeline company has not ever properly consulted with them on the project — a violation of federal law, that must be taken up by the Obama Administration.
Plains All American’s Safety Record
In 2015, a Plains All American-owned pipeline ruptured and spilled 140,000 gallons of oil onto Santa Barbara, California’s Refugio Beach and into the Pacific Ocean, killing hundreds of birds and marine mammals. The company and its employees still face dozens of charges related to that spill.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued numerous Corrective Action Orders against Plains All American in recent years, related to spills and other safety violations on its pipelines in California, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico. (2)
Floodplain Permit Concerns
Many citizens turned out to oppose stream crossing permits that Plains All American applied for and was granted by the City of Norman.
“If the pipeline was exposed during a major flood, there is always the potential that it could break,” said Neil Suneson, a geologist and adjunct professor with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, who was on the Norman Floodplain Permit Committee and voted against the pipeline proposal. “I was concerned entirely about the safety of the pipeline.” (3)
Stand with Tribal Nations and citizens of Oklahoma.
1. “Pipeline company lawsuits seek to get project back on track,” The Oklahoman, 7/31/15.
2. “Portion of Plains All American pipeline to run through county,” Norman Transcript, 2/15/16.
3. “Pipeline protesters plan demonstration outside Norman City Hall,” OUDaily.com, 8/22/16.