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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

What is TransCanada’s latest Hail Mary about?

Jane Kleeb | Bold Nebraska - October 8th 2015

Blog Post: TransCanada’s latest Hail Mary has many people scratching their heads. For those of us on the ground, we see through their antics. TransCanada cannot use eminent domain for at least two yearsbecause of a Nebraska law that makes it clear once you invoke eminent domain (which they did months ago) and then abandon eminent domain (which they did last week), you can not use those powers again for at least two years.

TransCanada hands major victory to Nebraska landowners


September 30th 2015

Blog Post: This afternoon, TransCanada announced that the company will pull out of the lawsuit filed by over 100 Nebraska landowners challenging their right to use eminent domain to seize land for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Facing mounting legal expenses and a likely loss in court, the company will instead go through the Public Service Commission (PSC) review process it had originally hoped to avoid. The PSC process will take at least a year, and cannot move forward if and when President Obama rejects the federal permit for the pipeline. This is a major victory for Nebraska landowners.

As Hillary Clinton opposes Keystone XL, all that remains is final rejection from President Obama


Editors | Tar Sands Solution Network - September 25th 2015

Blog Post: At a town hall meeting in Iowa this afternoon, Hillary Clinton revealed her position on the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, telling a supporter, “I oppose it. I oppose it because I don't think it's in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change.” The controversial project has long seemed doomed, with no legally approved route in Nebraska or South Dakota and opposition growing nationwide to building the pipeline. Now, with the leading Democratic candidates for President opposing its construction, all that remains is for President Obama to put the final nail in Keystone XL’s coffin and reject it once and for all.

Climate activists score huge victory: Hillary Clinton comes out against Keystone XL pipeline


Luke Brinker | Salon.com - September 23rd 2015

Press Clipping: Breaking her years-long silence on an issue that has galvanized climate activists, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out against construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Tuesday — marking a reversal of the position she seemed to hold as secretary of state and underscoring the issue’s resonance among the progressive voters Clinton needs to secure her party’s nod. “I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is — a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change,” Clinton said. “And unfortunately, from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward with all the other issues. Therefore, I oppose it.”

Prime Minister Harper’s inaction on climate killed the Keystone XL oilsands pipeline


Emma Gilchrist | DeSmog Canada - September 3rd 2015

Press Clipping: With U.S. President Barack Obama expected to deny a permit to the Keystone XLpipeline this fall, Canada’s oil industry is looking for someone to blame. The National Post’s Claudia Cattaneo wrote last week that “many Canadians … would see Obama’s fatal stab as a betrayal by a close friend and ally” and that others “would see it as the product of failure by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to come up with a climate change plan.” The latter is the more logical conclusion.

TransCanada’s self-inflicted, possibly fatal Keystone XL blunder


Brendan DeMelle | Desmog Blog - August 2nd 2015

Blog Post: What might have been a sleepy mid-summer South Dakota pipeline permitting process turned into a major headache for TransCanada and supporters of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline this week when new evidence emerged about the pipeline builder’s depth of knowledge of the serious corrosion with its existing Keystone pipeline system, and the lack of market demand for Keystone XL.

Mid-week update: Keystone XL permit hearing – off the rails

July 30th 2015

Blog Post: We have just concluded the third day of testimony on the Keystone XL permit certification here in Pierre, South Dakota. It’s been a bit of a ride, to say the least – rules seem to change by the hour, TransCanada pulled a witness soon after intervening parties started asking him questions, and at times the room has been quite heated (and not due to being on the fourth floor of the Capitol building in July – it’s been testy in here).

Canada’s Harper isn’t ‘hopeful’ Obama will approve Keystone

Theophilos Argitis and Greg Quinn | Bloomberg Business - July 30th 2015

Press Clipping: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said U.S. delays in approving the Keystone XL pipeline are “not a hopeful sign” and reflect the “peculiar politics” of the Obama administration. “A positive decision has not been rendered for a very long time, that’s obviously not a hopeful sign,” Harper said in an interview Wednesday at his Ottawa office, adding he discussed the matter recently with the U.S. president. “I think there’s very peculiar politics of this particular administration.”