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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Overview:
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, causing climate catastrophe  
Current Status:
President Obama expected to make final decision late 2013

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

TransCanada Corp. dismissive of employees’ concerns about pipeline safety, records reveal

Feature

Mike De Souza | Toronto Star - April 15th 2014

Press Clipping: Management at TransCanada Corp. were dismissive to employees who raised concerns in recent years about the safety of the company’s existing and brand new North American pipeline infrastructure, newly released company records reveal. The thousands of pages of records, released over the past month by the Senate energy and environment committee, show cases where engineers were told in internal emails to stop searching for potential pipeline defects.

More than 100 scientists and economists call for rejection of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline

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Elizabeth Shope | NRDC - April 8th 2014

Blog Post: Dear President Obama and Secretary Kerry: As scientists and economists, we are concerned about climate change and its impacts. We urge you to reject the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline as a project that will contribute to climate change at a time when we should be doing all we can to put clean energy alternatives in place.

Silicon Valley’s elite comes out against Keystone XL

Brad Wieners | Bloomberg Business Week - April 2nd 2014

Press Clipping: In a March 7 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that was made public on Monday, more than 200 business owners, venture capitalists, and the odd Stanford B-school professor have asserted that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is not in the economic interests of the U.S. Over its lifetime, the 875-mile extension linking Alberta tar sands to refineries and tankers in the Gulf of Mexico would cost billions more than it brings in, the letter states, and “these costs will be borne by U.S. citizens, businesses and taxpayers, while the profits from the pipeline will accrue to private corporations many of which are foreign interests.”

Study warns stopping Keystone XL will choke oil sands growth

Feature

Jameson Berkow | Business News Network - March 25th 2014

Press Clipping: It only required some fairly simple math for one Berkeley professor to conclude that the U.S. State Department is wrong about Keystone XL: that the controversial pipeline will, in fact, increase tar sands production (and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions) by about one billion barrels over the next 15 years.

What Nebraska lawsuit means for KXL

Kenny Bruno and Jane Kleeb | Bold Nebraska - March 18th 2014

Blog Post: On February 19th, Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy ruled Nebraska’s pipeline siting law “unconstitutional and void.” This case, Thompson v Heineman, was a huge win for everyone involved in this campaign to protect property owner’s rights and our land and water. The result leaves TransCanada with no legal route to build its proposed pipeline across the state. In this memo we explain the relationship of the Thompson v. Heineman ruling to the federal process for Keystone XL as well as TransCanada’s error in claiming they still have a legal route.

Another firm that evaluated Keystone for State Department had ties to TransCanada

Kate Sheppard | Huffington Post - March 13th 2014

Press Clipping: The contractor that evaluated greenhouse gas emissions for the State Department's Keystone XL report is the latest company to come under fire for its ties to TransCanada, the prospective builder of the controversial pipeline. A conflict-of-interest statement from the consulting firm ICF International, submitted to the State Department in 2012, reveals that the company had done other work for TransCanada.

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee KXL Hearing: Sierra Club

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Michael Brune | Sierra Club - March 13th 2014

Blog Post: Today, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune testified before the U.S. Senate Committee of Foreign Affairs regarding the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline national interest determination. "The Sierra Club, and the more than two million people who submitted comments last week to the State Department, know this pipeline is not in our national interest."