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, 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

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.

Keystone XL pipeline trial in Oklahoma starts today

Editors | Tar Sands Solutions Network - October 23rd 2014

Blog Post: On April 22, 2013, Alec Johnson disrupted construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline near Tushka, Oklahoma by chaining himself to heavy equipment and effectively halting work. Now, more than a year after his arrest, Alec Johnson will attempt to make US history by becoming the first to argue that he was justified in breaking the law to prevent a greater harm: the urgent threat of climate change.

Neil Young, Willie Nelson and 8,000 in Nebraska stand up to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline

Feature

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz | NRDC - September 29th 2014

Blog Post: Under a warm September sun, thousands spread out across the cornfield on the Tanderup family farm in Neligh, Nebraska and sang along with Neil Young and Willie Nelson to honor the beautiful Nebraska farms and ranches threatened by the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This concert comes at a time when the fight against tar sands is gaining momentum and showing real results on the ground with postponement and cancellation of tar sands projects.

Willie Nelson, Neil Young to play benefit concert in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline

Feature

Editors | Tar Sands Solutions Network - September 26th 2014

Blog Post: On Sept. 27, music legends Willie Nelson and Neil Young will perform in a benefit concert to support the ongoing fight against the Keystone XL pipeline and help fund Bold Nebraska, Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and the Cowboy & Indian Alliance, as well as a number of small, community-based clean energy projects on farms and tribal lands. The concert will take place on a family farm that sits on the proposed pipeline route, as well as crossing the historic Ponca Tribe “Trail of Tears.”

People’s Climate March images for your use and enjoyment

September 26th 2014

Visual: TSSN is a service to the movement, so we sent a team of media makers to the People's Climate March to capture images for you. Have a look at these albums for photos capturing a few major events over the course of last weekend in New York. If you ever need an image for a blog post, social media graphic, press kit, etc. and so on, please use these freely!

Keystone XL: The last six years, by the numbers

September 18th 2014

Blog Post: As supporters of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline mark the six-year anniversary of the pipeline proposal by touring the proposed pipeline route and whining about the fact that their dangerous, polluting project has not been approved, now is as good a time as any to take a look at some of the numbers associated with the last six years the project has been on the table.