Red Rover, Red Rover send the Piping Plover Right Over….the edge

Photo by mdf (not associated with this blog)

Photo by mdf (not associated with this blog)

Well, the XL pipeline is back in the news.  You may have no problem with the concept of an oil pipeline, until it comes to your town and breaks.  All that crude and synthetic oil with nasty byproducts is not easy or even possible to fully clean up.  Just ask the good folks of Mayflower, Arkansas.  But the prospect of an expanded XL pipeline wouldn’t just be a threat to the people and the environment directly in its path.  There are critters too of concern – fish, birds and beetles, who would loudly object if only they could.  I’m not talking about the run of the mill variety.  Frankly, if the pipeline took out some of those invasive jumping fish and colonies of fire ants and swarms of killer bees and as many giant green flies as possible, I wouldn’t lose much sleep.  But I’m talking about some of nature’s finest and most obscure and endangered creatures who call our fair country home and who would be adversely impacted, perhaps even wiped off the species list entirely were the XL pipeline fully implemented, at least according to Noah Greenwald, Director of the Endangered Species Program at the Center for Biological Diversity as reported by Talia Buford in a Politico article.  Greenwald’s list includes the pallid sturgeon, the American burying beetle, the piping plover, “six geese a laying” (just kidding, but maybe, who knows?) the whooping crane and the interior least tern.

One would think the piping plover could thrive near a “pipe”line, and that the burying beetle would simply dig deeper and find comfy bedrock for shelter.  But they are not as resourceful and resilient as I imagined.  I am not at all surprised though about the pallid sturgeon, who has been looking quite faint and sickly for years. The same can be said for the whooping crane who has had a mighty cough now for a few generations running.  The least tern, as its name implies, is the smallest of the terns and is in need of constant protection, but despite it’s diminutive size, it has quite the bill for foraging, which could be a problem.  Curious by nature, the least tern might do some exploring of its own and encounter some slug or insect that had been marinating in a pool of toxic goop from a leaky pipeline.

Of course as more pipeline is built, more and more of these delicate and iconic creatures could lose their natural habitats and be wiped off the planet for good. So let’s stop this thing.  I say power to the piping plover, to the sickly sturgeon, to the shy burying beetle and last but not least to the tiny interior least tern, all of whom don’t depend on fossil fuels like their foolish stewards.

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