WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Critics of the Keystone XL pipeline proposed to carry heavy Alberta crude to Texas refineries added the whooping crane to their list of reasons for opposition.
Hundreds of people have been arrested during sit-ins in front of the White House while voicing opposition to TransCanada's plans to build its Keystone XL pipeline. It would carry oil from tar sands projects in Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the southern coast of the United States.
Opponents of the project say Alberta crude is more corrosive than conventional oil, meaning pipelines are more prone to accidents. Workers in Michigan are still cleaning up an Alberta crude oil spill more than a year after a pipeline burst in the state.
Extracting heavy crude is also viewed as more harmful to the environment.
Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition, said the planned route for Keystone XL runs through the migratory pathway of the whooping crane.
"If you were to choose a route through which to move toxic, highly corrosive, sludgy crude oil, would you place it on the same narrow corridor used by one of the world's most endangered birds?" she writes in The Huffington Post. "The Canadian energy company TransCanada did and the Obama administration is on the verge of approving that absurd proposal."
Washington is expected to weigh in on the plans this year. The State Department needs to approve the project because it crosses national boundaries.
EthicalOil.org, a group supporting the project, said that by opposing TransCanada's plans, critics are tacitly supporting the repression of women in oil-rich Saudi Arabia.