Environmental organizations are showing a too rare unity in their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. In the U.S. Congress, the Republicans are fighting hard to get around reasonable review processes for safety, environmental impact, and understanding of the national interest to support a pipeline to move highly-polluting Canadian tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries to feed into Chinese and other foreign markets seemingly insatiable demand for diesel fuels. And, yesterday a large coalition set a rather daunting target: 500,000 signatures, within 24 hours, to signal to the U.S. Senate that fossil-foolish lobbying doesn’t represent the will of the U.S. public (the citizens, the voters …). Some thought 250,000 would be a better target (or 350,000 to be 1,000 times over a sensible target for a carbon reductions plan of 350 parts per million in the atmosphere). In fact, the coalition underestimated the passion and reach of realism when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline. Last evening, the Sierra Club released a press release that began:
At 6:54pm ET on Monday night, just under seven hours into a 24-hour petition drive, environmental and public interest groups smashed through their goal of sending the Senate over 500,000 messages opposing the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
As Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune put it:
Americans don’t want this oil, they don’t want this risk, and they don’t want this political circus. The President stood up to Big Oil and rejected the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. If Republicans in Congress were genuinely concerned about jobs they would have passed the jobs package last fall. If they were genuinely concerned about building America they would pass a clean transportation bill. And if they were genuinely concerned about the American people they would get out of the business of approving dangerous oil industry pet projects.
Considering all the news and this effort to have Americans send messages to their Senators, perhaps it makes sense to take a moment to ‘review’ the bidding as to why Keystone XL pipeline is not in the national interest and why you should urge your U.S. Senator to oppose putting fossil fuel lobbying ahead of American interests.
Thus, a simple question as to Keystone XL: Why not?
The Keystone XL pipeline would
- Ease expansion of environmentally devastating tar sands oil exploitation.
- Tar Sands exploitation devastates boreal forests, damages Canadian waterways/wetlands, and ravages wildlife populations (including migratory bird populations).
- Tar Sands, as a fuel source, is significantly more polluting (by every measure) than traditional petroleum fuels.
- Worsen prospects for mitigating climate change
- One of the world’s leading climate scientists, James Hansen, has said that expanded tar sands production would be “game over” for the climate system and lead to irreversible catastrophic climate chaos.
- Lead to increased fuel prices for significant numbers of Americans
- Currently, tar sands imported into the United States are refined mainly in Upper Midwest refineries and oversupply of fuel products there have lead to a lowered crude fuel and consumer prices for much of the Upper Midwest when compared to global oil prices. Keystone XL would move this fuel into the international market and out of American fuel tanks.
- Create increased risks of oil pipeline spills
- The first Keystone pipeline, which is relatively new, has had a large number of leaks.
- Keystone XL would go through sensitive areas where a pipeline leak could impact sensitive environmental areas and numerous Americans’ health.
- Threaten employment
- The only significant independent review of the Keystone XL pipeline project’s employment impact creates significant risk for reducing overall employment.
- Industry claims have been contradictory and do not stand up to even the scantiest of open-minded scrutiny.
- Industry practices have been, seriously, at odds with their practices and delivered results.
- Hurt America’s prospects for achieving a clean energy future
- The pipeline would divert attention and resources from other paths and opportunities.
- The pipeline’s approval feeds into a ‘drill, baby, drill’ mentality that fundamentally fails that increased production is counter to achieving energy security.
Very simply, oil industry lobbyist claims to the contrary, the Keystone XL pipeline is not in the U.S. national interest.
Let your Senator know that Congress should not put oil industry boardroom interests ahead of American national interest.