Tar Sands Solutions Network

Join Us On:

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.

Learn More

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

Myth-busting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline

Editors | Tar Sands Solutions Network - November 22nd 2014

Blog Post: As Congress renewed the debate over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and President Obama became increasingly vocal about his reservations about the project, this week saw a reemergence of some of the same tired myths that have muddled the public debate over the pipeline for years. Pipeline proponents and pundits have pushed forward a number of myths about Keystone XL that seek to minimize its perceived importance as part of the climate debate, but the facts tell a different story.

Democrats win KXL vote, open defense of Obama’s climate agenda

John H. Cushman Jr. | InsideClimate News - November 19th 2014

Press Clipping: Senate Democrats held together just enough votes on Tuesday to defeat, at least for now, legislation to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The bill's failure, by 59 yeas to 41 nays, lets President Obama off the hook for a possible veto at the start of this lame-duck session of Congress. But the Senate vote, like the one favoring the project in the House a few days earlier, was really about more than the Keystone. It was the first defense by besieged Congressional Democrats of President Obama's entire environmental and climate agenda, which they fear may be going down the drain.

Rosebud Sioux Tribe: House vote in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline an act of war


Editors | Tar Sands Solutions Network - November 16th 2014

Blog Post: In response to the recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to authorize the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the Rosebud Sioux Tribal president announced that the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) recognizes the authorization of this pipeline as an act of war. “The House has now signed our death warrants and the death warrants of our children and grandchildren. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will not allow this pipeline through our lands,” said President Scott of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

Poll: U.S. support slipping for fracking, Keystone

Clare Foran | National Journal - November 14th 2014

Press Clipping: American enthusiasm for fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline is waning, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. Keystone XL, which would bring crude from Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, still enjoys majority favor, with 59 percent of respondents telling Pew they support its construction. But that's a drop from Pew's survey in March of 2013—when 66 percent of Americans said they wanted to see the pipeline built.

Senate, President Obama should stand strong on Keystone XL


Editors | Tar Sands Solutions Network - November 14th 2014

Blog Post: The House of Representatives took yet another vote to force approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, in spite of mounting evidence that the controversial project is not in the national interest. President Obama must stand strong in his commitment to allowing the legally required review process to carry on and not to allow the oil industry’s friends in Congress to force approval of this dangerous project.

All the times we’ve been counted out on Keystone XL

November 6th 2014

Blog Post: So here we are in 2014. It’s true, Big Oil has managed to send more pro-Keystone candidates to Congress than ever. But unconventional action has beaten conventional wisdom time and time again. What really matters in this fight isn’t their money, it’s our courage — and with the stakes clearer than ever, that courage will not be in short supply in the weeks and months to come.

Listen to the power of the People’s Climate March

H. Emerson Blake | Orion Magazine - October 24th 2014

Blog Post: Perhaps the clamor was the most significant thing about the People’s Climate March, because it embodied a need to be heard—a cacophonous demand for new climate policy and a new set of rules for how the planet’s future will be shaped. We hope that it will be ringing in the ears of the politicians who still want to believe that politics can be separated from the health of the planet—and that registered voters’ opinions about climate can be ignored.