Tar Sands Solutions Network

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Keystone XL

The Keystone XL pipeline poses tremendous risks to people and communities along its entire route through the heart of the United States. Inevitable leaks of tar sands crude would pollute important water sources, including the Ogallala aquifer, one of the most important sources of water in the Midwest.

More importantly, building Keystone is an integral part of the oil industry's reckless expansion of the tar sands, and commits us to 50+ more years of fossil fuel dependence that will cause climate catastrophe. A recent analysis indicates the pipeline would be responsible for emissions comparable to more than 37.7 million cars or 51 coal-fired power plants.

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A new, 850,000 barrel per day pipeline from Alberta to Texas
Key Problems:
- Pipeline crosses numerous waterways
- Export only pipeline creates little benefit or jobs for Americans
- Unlocks massive growth of tar sands, exacerbating the risks associated with climate change  
Current Status:
- President Obama's decision delayed while Nebraska courts decide the fate of the pipeline's proposed route

Hundreds of local, national and international environmental groups across North America, as well as scientists, politicians, ranchers and landowners, Native Americans and First Nations have come together to oppose the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Over one million comments opposing Keystone XL were submitted to the U.S. State Department in April 2013, added to the more than 800,000 signatures against the pipeline in 48 hours in 2012.

Why? Because building it creates enormous risks for people and communities in the United States without creating any identifiable rewards.

Even the New York Times editorial board has said, repeatedly, that, “A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve [the Keystone XL pipeline], a project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem.”

Although the oil industry vehemently defends Keystone XL’s purported economic benefits, the numbers just don’t add up. Instead of enhancing energy security in the U.S. and reducing American reliance on Middle Eastern oil, it would simply facilitate oil exports to unsavory regimes like China. Rather than providing meaningful, long-term employment opportunities for the people who live and work along the route, it will create only 35 permanent jobs. 

And the risks are enormous. Catastrophic spills of tar sands crude in Mayflower, Arkansas and Michigan's Kalamazoo River illustrate just how risky tar sands pipelines are. The inevitable spills from tar sands pipelines poison waterways, disrupt communities, make residents sick, and decrease property values. The unique chemical makeup of tar sands oil causes it to sink in water, making it particularly difficult to clean-up. The spill that occurred in the Kalamazoo River three years ago still hasn’t been cleaned up, and the total cost of redressing the devastation will top $1 billion.

Given that Keystone XL runs right over the Ogalala aquifer, one of the most important sources of water in the Midwest, the risks of contamination are enormous. Just one spill from the Keystone XL pipeline could destroy a water source on which hundreds of communities and thousands of ranchers and farmers rely.

Rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline is a no brainer. It creates enormous social, economic and environmental risks and provides almost no benefits. It must never be built.

Keystone XL Updates & Resources

Activists promise biggest climate march in history


Adam Vaughan | The Guardian - September 9th 2014

Press Clipping: The Guardian reports that hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of New York, London and eight other cities worldwide on September 21 to pressure world leaders to take action on global warming, in what organisers claim will be the biggest climate march in history.

Climate film gets activists pumped for NYC march


September 11th 2014

Visual: When’s the last time you saw people lining up on the street to watch a commercial? How about an hour-long commercial about climate change? That’s what happened Sunday night for the New York premiere of “Disruption,” a documentary film promoting the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21. The screening is one of several pre-events that will peak on Sept. 12. “We’re going to make sure people in New York City can’t go anywhere on Sept. 12 without hearing about [the march],” said one of the organizers.

Why Canadian youth are participating in the People’s Climate March


Kelsey Mech | National Director, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition - September 9th 2014

Blog Post: On September 21, in New York City, tens of thousands will converge to take a stand for our climate and our futures. We will come from diverse backgrounds, from diverse movements, from all walks of life and all generations. Now, youth are preparing to take the energy and collective power we've been building at home to the People's Climate March. As one of these youth, I am going to New York to support this growing movement of young people, to stand behind Indigenous communities, and to call for an end to the destruction and injustice of dirty energy expansion. And I am not alone.

Tar sands activists from across North America to attend People’s Climate March


Editors | Tar Sands Solutions Network - September 5th 2014

Blog Post: Tens of thousands of people will gather in New York City on September 21st for what is expected to be the largest demonstration for climate action in history. The People’s Climate March will take place just two days before President Obama joins other world leaders for an emergency Climate Summit at the United Nations. People from affected communities across the U.S. and Canada will join together in a ‘Tar Sands Bloc’ to call for a moratorium on dangerous tar sands projects.

TransCanada is responsible for prolonged routing process for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline

Anthony Swift | NRDC - September 5th 2014

Press Clipping: Time and time again, TransCanada has sought to circumvent the process for approving a route for the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska. It currently does not have a route through Nebraska because it lobbied for an unconstitutional shortcut that would allow it to avoid a transparent pipeline citing process by Nebraska’s Public Service Commission (PSC). As with every major delay in the Keystone XL process, TransCanada will only have itself to blame.

Interview: McKibben in Montreal to drum up support for People’s Climate March in NYC


Michelle LaLonde | Montreal Gazette - September 5th 2014

Press Clipping: Prominent environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, founder of the climate organization 350.org, was in Montreal recently to drum up interest in the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21. "How can I put it politely?” McKibben said. "Canada is on the edge of becoming a really rogue state as regards climate change. Its policies and plans are worse than almost any country on the planet. So it is really important that there be a growing movement here, that people who are upset about this stand up and make some noise."

The case for a moratorium on tar sands development

Ed Struzik | Yale e360 - September 4th 2014

Press Clipping: Ecologist Wendy Palen is one of a group of scientists who recently called for a moratorium on new development of Alberta’s tar sands. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, she talks about why Canada and the U.S. need to reconsider the tar sands as part of a long-term energy policy.

Landowners fight unconstitutional pipeline law at Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday

Editors | Tar Sands Solutions Network - September 4th 2014

Blog Post: Tune in to hear three brave Nebraska landowners who took Gov. Heineman to court to challenge his abuse of power on pipeline routing and eminent domain will defend their lower court victory at the Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 5 at 9:00 a.m. CT. Landowners' attorney Dave Domina will argue that the lower court judge, District Judge Stephanie Stacy, ruled correctly when she found LB 1161 to be unconstitutional, therefore invalidating TransCanada’s permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route in Nebraska.