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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

How Harper misread Obama and botched Keystone XL

Campbell Clark | Globe and Mail - December 17th 2014

Press Clipping: Campbell Clark argues that Canada’s Conservative government has misplayed the politics of the Keystone XL pipeline, and badly. There is a constituency in the United States that wants action on climate change, and they made Keystone a symbol for this battle. But Harper and his fellow Conservatives just pushed harder on the idea that the U.S. was going to need Canadian oil, anyway. This turned out to be a mistake, and it’s almost certainly too late to get Mr. Obama to ever approve this pipeline.

Kerry feels heat on Keystone oil pipeline at U.N. climate talks

Valerie Volcovici | Reuters - December 12th 2014

Press Clipping: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday urged countries at U.N. climate talks in Lima to move away from using fossil fuels while demonstrators gathered outside the meeting urged him to reject the Keystone oil pipeline. "Coal and oil may be cheap ways to power an economy today... but I urge nations around the world: Look further down the road," he said. Environmental activists in Lima said if Kerry approves Keystone XL, he would be going against the spirit of his speech.

Obama disses Keystone XL on The Colbert Report


Editors | Tar Sands Solutions - December 10th 2014

Blog Post: President Obama appeared on The Colbert Report to talk health care, jaded young voters, and the recent job report. They also talked about the Keystone XL pipeline. While Obama didn’t say whether he’d block it or not, he was right on message when he spoke of the tar-sands pipeline in dismissive terms. This may be the first time that President Obama has made such a comprehensive case against KXL to a domestic audience. He hits all the salient points: climate, exports, local siting, and pushing back on jobs.

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.