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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

Crude Awakening: How the Keystone veto dashes Canada’s ‘superpower’ dreams


Tim Dickinson | Rolling Stone Magazine - February 25th 2015

Press Clipping: Barack Obama's veto of Keystone XL has placed the export pipeline for Canadian tar-sands crude on its deathbed. As we, in the United States, consider the fate of our own massive oil reserves and confront the specter of yet another Bush presidency, Stephen Harper's Canada offers a cautionary tale — about the economic and political havoc that can be unleashed when a first-world nation yokes itself to Tea Party economics and to the boom and bust of Big Oil.

Obama: Keystone pipeline bill ‘has earned my veto’


Gregory Korte | USA Today - February 24th 2015

Press Clipping: President Obama vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline, making good on a threat to reject a proposal embraced by Republicans as a jobs measure but opposed by environmentalists as contributing to climate change. Environmentalists claimed victory. "The pen was mightier than the pipeline," said Anna Aurilio of Environment America.

Vetoing Keystone is just the beginning

Rhea Suh, President | NRDC - February 23rd 2015

Press Clipping: Our Constitution authorizes the president of the United States to reject legislation that’s not in the national interest. The reason: the president is the only public official elected to represent all of the American people. Under a policy put in place in 1968 and updated by President George W. Bush, it is the president’s job to review cross-border infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, which would link Gulf Coast refineries to Canadian tar sands. In determining whether to green-light the project, the president is guided by a single question: is it in the national interest? The answer is an emphatic no.

Stanford stands up to KXL

Jenai Longstaff | Fossil Free Stanford - February 20th 2015

Blog Post: When President Obama came to Stanford University on February 13th, more than 50 students and community members were there to tell him to veto and reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Fossil Free Stanford has led Stanford’s campaign to divest from the fossil fuel industry. With the University’s assets successfully out of the coal industry, Fossil Free Stanford continues its work to end the University’s investment in oil and natural gas companies, which are causing enormous environmental destruction and human rights abuses.

Robert Reich on why Obama should reject Keystone XL

February 19th 2015

Visual: Why should President Obama veto the Keystone XL pipeline permanently? According to Robert Reich, American politician, academic, writer, and political commentator, "We need jobs and a safe climate and the Keystone pipeline gives us neither. The president should stop this pipeline for good and do it now."

Nebraska judge halts TransCanada’s use of eminent domain for Keystone route

Kate Sheppard | HuffPo - February 13th 2015

Press Clipping: A Nebraska judge has issued a temporary injunction barring TransCanada from using eminent domain to force landowners to sell rights allowing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on their property. A group of landowners affected filed a lawsuit last month in Holt County District Court and vow to keep fighting to throw out the state law that allowed the governor to approve the pipeline route. Jane Kleeb, director of the anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska, said in a statement Thursday that the temporary injunction is a "major win for landowners."

NYT Editorial: Mr. Obama’s easy call on Keystone bill


Editorial Board | New York Times - February 13th 2015

Press Clipping: Congress has delivered to President Obama a bill commanding him to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. Mr. Obama should, as he has promised, veto the bill. Not building a pipeline means that more oil — and more carbon dioxide — will be left in the ground. That is the main reason to say no. The stars seem very much in alignment for a courageous presidential decision that would command worldwide attention and reinforce America’s leadership role in the battle against global warming.

Scientists and economists call on Obama and Kerry to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline


Jennifer Skene | NRDC - February 11th 2015

Blog Post: Ninety-five scientists and economists released a letter urging President Obama and Secretary Kerry to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, calling it a "step in the wrong direction" if the Obama administration is serious about addressing climate change. The letter draws upon comments President Obama made that, "allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation's interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution."