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The car and the industries that supports the car have a lot to answer for:

  • 71% of parents of school-aged children walked or biked to school when they were young, whereas only 18% do so now.

  • +6.3 pounds = the difference in weight between the average person living in the most sprawling county in the US vs. the most compact (Geuga County, Ohio vs. New York City, New York)

  • The odds of having high blood pressure were 29% lower for residents of compact cities.

  • 65% of the adult population in the United States is overweight, and almost one in three is obese. Over the past 25 years, the portion of children, age 6 to 11 who are overweight has doubled, while the portion of overweight teens has tripled. 15% of teenagers 6-19 are now overweight.

Here is Mobile, as an extra added bonus, we have the oil used to run those cars in the waters to our south. As evidenced by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, that is not necessarily a good thing. The infrastructure to process that oil has ended up on the gulf coast (it followed Big Oil) and that isn’t necessarily a good thing either as we in Mobile are finding out.

1) Mobile is going to allow the Canadians to bring the tar sands down by rail and pump then under (and hopefully not into) the bay to subvert Keystone. Canadian National Railroad (CN) and ARC Terminals (a company in Midlands) have partnered to ship heavy Canadian tar sand oil to Mobile. ARC Terminals bought the old Mobile Asphalt storage facility on Blakeley Island (across the river from Mobile and where the trains stop). They will rail heavy Canadian oil down to Mobile, offload either in Chickasaw or on the Mobile side of the river where it will travel under the river to the Blakely side, be stored until a barge can come to take to Pascagoula, Baton Rouge, Houston or some other Gulf Coast refinery. Blakeley Island is essentially now a toxic waste dump, where we have been shipping and storing crappy stuff ever since Alcoa built the alkali pits in 1930 (that are apparently still so toxic they can’t support life after 50 years).  The Canadian toxic waste will almost certainly end up in the Bay as does the other toxic materials following a hurricane or other storm surve event. If we are really unlucky we can have a massive oil spill when a boat anchor tears into the pipeline. Why tar sands? Really cheap oil which becomes really cheap gasoline.

2) Mobile is allowing the  building of an oil pipeline through (well OK, close to) our water supply. A terminal formerly known as 10 Mile terminal, now known as “Mobile Terminal” and owned by a subsidiary of Plains All America Pipe Company, is in Magazine Point. It currently has a pipeline that goes to Liberty Mississippi (which, as my daughter would say, is a “wide spot in the road” near Louisiana).  They offload oil from everywhere into their tanks and pipeline it to Liberty and from there I presume to the refineries. They want to create a direct pipeline to the Pascagoula refinery for regular crude oil shipped in from Venezuela and other countries. They have permission to acquire property by eminent domain and likely had no clue that Big Creek Lake was actually “Mobile Drinking Water Reservoir.” THEIR not-so-heavy crude will possibly end up in Big Creek Lake if not rerouted (yes, this is the same company that owns the pipeline and the responsibility for the massive oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas).  Why offload in Mobile?  Once finished,  they can put oil in the pipeline and pick any refinery on the gulf coast based on capacity. Ensures cheap gasoline.

So, cheap gasoline has health aspects for all Americans. In addition, we are turning our town into a toxic waste dump to keep everyone else’s gas cheap. I guess what I’m asking is not to make either cars or gasoline illegal but to make its use safe, legal, but rare. Admittedly, a selfish goal on my part.