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Senator Lugar proposes bill to rubber stamp Keystone XL tar sands pipeline

Anthony Swift

Posted November 30, 2011

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Senator Lugar has just proposed a bill that would block the efforts by the Obama Administration to ensure that farmers and other landowners are protected as it considers TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The bill would require the Administration to rubber stamp the project in 60 days with no further review along a route that hasn’t even been determined yet. There isn’t even agreement on how significant the reroute will be – this bill would force the President to approve a route sight unseen. Senator Bernie Sanders responded to this news by pointing out that “at a time when the State Department Inspector General is conducting a special inquiry into possible conflicts of interest related to the State Department’s handling of this project, it is completely inappropriate to try to short-circuit the thorough environmental review process federal law requires.” Just as troubling, the bill ignores the voices of Americans across the country who have asked the President to consider their serious concerns about the impact Keystone XL would have on landowners, the environment and our country’s energy future.

It is particularly disappointing to see this bill coming from Senator Lugar, who in the past has been a champion for farmers and rural communities. TransCanada has spent years trying to railroad the American people with a poorly considered route by bullying landowners with eminent domain, threatening States with lawsuits and providing government officials with misleading information about the feasibility of alternatives. President Obama’s decision to consider a new route for the pipeline has given farmers and landowners a more level playing field when dealing with TransCanada. Forcing the President to approve a route, sight unseen, would pull the carpet out from under the feet of these landowners and the State of Nebraska.

The bill includes widely discredited figures about jobs and energy. The only independent studies on the project show that the pipeline would produce no net jobs and provide a route for oil from the United States to the international market. The way to independence from foreign oil is through technologies that will allow us to use less of it. In addition, these clean energy technologies have the potential to create millions of long term jobs for America.

Fortunately, Lugar’s bill does not appear likely to get the support it would need to pass the Senate. But it is a clear signal that powerful interests are seriously invested in seeing Keystone XL become a reality. Keystone XL may be in their interests, but it is not in the interests of the United States. This bill is a reminder that the American people will have to remain at the table if they want their interests to be represented.

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mmfyDec 1 2011 09:06 AM

More censorship from mr. swift - boy you are swift!

aulscBDec 1 2011 02:28 PM

comment removed, per NRDC's policy, stated below. We welcome all civil responses. Comments that resort to profanity, personal or ad hominem attacks, etc., will be removed. – Ian @ NRDC.

diane angelinoDec 2 2011 12:55 PM

Protect our country from this filthy imminent danger. Shouldn't we be focusing on alternative, clean sources of energy anyway??? Who paid Lugar off???

Judy RaetzDec 2 2011 01:16 PM

NO and NO and NO to trying to overstep the voice of the American people!!! We spoke, now stop and listen and keep the Keystone XL pipeline out of central U.S.!!!!

Dianne JarreauDec 2 2011 01:27 PM

As some of the other material on the blog make perfectly clear, tar sands have already done damage to the area of the US that produces our main Wheat crop. This is of course no bother to Alberta or any other place in Canada which produces their country's own crop. It also gives them the commercial advantage of selling wheat to everybody else other than Russia. You are asking for not only an ecological disaster of large proportions for the US but famine as well which is presently ravaging Africa before the counter-measures of Coastal Tree transplantings can take place similar to what the Chinese did on their Northwestern border when they needed a fall-out defense in the Grasslands.

Hope WilliamsDec 2 2011 01:59 PM

I wonder how much money in "campaign contributions" Senator Lugar will be getting from TransCanada for his support, hmmmmm. Sadly it seems that our officals/ government can be influenced by money and other gifts just wondering if this is just another example. :(

john poirierDec 2 2011 03:42 PM

The senator and anybody else can talk all they want but it wont change nothing! Canada is not for sale at any price ! I am a resident of British Columbia and we will never allow keystone or any other pipeline to be built in our province, period!! American or Canadian it doesn't matter, those who appose the tar sands will stand in victory and the filthy Alberta oil will stay in the ground.

WhateverDec 2 2011 04:23 PM

If it doesn't come to the US, its going to China. So if you are Canadian, Ottawa is where the fight is.

Don BrownDec 2 2011 07:51 PM

Why doesn't Canada build a pipeline west to one of their ports and ship it to customers ??? No they want to shove the nasty stuff to Texas and let us deal with the nasty oil !

bcmapleleafDec 3 2011 05:12 AM

We're beginning the fight against construction of a pipeline to ship that 'nasty stuff' to the west in British Columbia, Canada ourselves right now. Enbridge wants to build a pipeline from the Alberta tar sands across the whole width of BC to a port at Kitimat. And yes, Ottawa is where our fight is.

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