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Nobel Peace Prize Winners Condemn Keystone XL Pipeline for Dirty Tar Sands

Frances Beinecke

Posted September 19, 2011

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Recently nine Nobel Peace Prize Winners wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas. Today NRDC and the Nobel Women’s Initiative are running an ad in the Washington Post featuring the full text of the letter and its powerful message.

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The authors include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and American landmines activist Jody Williams. Each one of these moral leaders condemns the pipeline for the threats it will pose to communities in its path, the Ogallala Aquifer it will traverse, and the global climate it will alter.

The Laureates write to the president:

“Like you, we understand that strip-mining and drilling tar sands from under Alberta’s Boreal forests and then transporting thousands of barrels of oil a day from Canada through to Texas will not only hurt people in the US—but will also endanger the entire planet. After the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, the full development of the Alberta tar sands will create the world’s second largest potential source of global warming gases.”

Indeed, the production process alone for tar sand fuel generates three times as much global warming pollution as conventional crude. That doesn’t even include burning it in cars.

Inviting more of this dirty fuel into America will benefit tar sands oil companies, but it won’t help our nation’s energy future.

The State Department is currently consulting with agencies and the public to determine whether the pipeline is in America’s national interest. Yet critical pieces of the review process remain missing on issues such as pipeline safety, alternative routes to the Ogallala Aquifer, and environmental justice. There is no need to rush the decision on this pipeline. The Administration should have all the necessary information before it makes it determination.

The Administration’s recent decisions to abandon stronger limits on smog and to delay issuing rules to reduce carbon emissions from power plants have been a deep disappointment and will result in a further threat to our health. The Keystone XL pipeline sets the stage yet again to see whether the president will act on his commitment to protect the nation from the deleterious effects of climate change.


Photo credit: Judy Rand


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Richie O'DomhnaillSep 24 2011 06:41 AM

"The Pipe" is playing for a week at the Ross Media Arts Center largely
because of the parallels between Nebraska and the Irish protests.

The film screening started yesterday, Fri Sept 23rd and will run until
Thurs Sept 29th.

Michael Moore showed The Pipe in his Traverse City Cinema and
campaigns like Keystone, Spectra and Fracking are teaming up with me
to hold screenings in areas affected by these developments. A friend
of mine who ran our Washington DC screenings for the environmental
film festival, Maribel Guevera, was recently arrested along with Daryl Hannah.

There is a lot happening and a lot of momentum going
with Keystone, and energy projects in general at the moment, and I am
trying to use The Pipe to highlight these campaigns on both sides of
the Atlantic. I would be eternally grateful if you could, in any way,
help to publicise the screenings or pass the film information on to anyone who
would be eager to put on screenings of the film?
Thanks a million for your time and I have included some digital press
material with this email,
Best Regards


The Pipe - Synopsis

In a remote corner of the West of Ireland sits Broadhaven Bay. It is
the perfect picture postcard, where the high cliffs of Erris Head and
the Stags of Broadhaven stand sentry at the mouth of the bay against
the mighty Atlantic, as if protecting the delicate golden sands of
Glengad beach and the tiny village of Rossport, which nestles behind
the dunes. However, this peaceful tranquility belies the turmoil that
lies beneath, and the unique nature of the coastline which has
sustained generations of farmers and fishermen, has also delivered to
Shell Oil the perfect landfall for the Corrib Gas Pipeline.
In the most dramatic clash of cultures in modern Ireland, the rights
of farmers over their fields, and of fishermen to their fishing
grounds, has come in direct conflict with one of the worlds most
powerful oil companies. When the citizens look to their state to
protect their rights, they find that the state has put Shell’s right
to lay a pipeline over their own.

The Pipe is a story of a community tragically divided, and how they
deal with a pipe that could bring economic prosperity or destruction
of a way of life shared for generations.


christian maguireSep 25 2011 10:51 AM

It is time for the permanent magnet motor and interim conversion to hydrogen technologies.
We are being lied to when we are told these technologies are difficult to produce.
They are simple and available today!
Oil is almost obsolete.
In addition we can build magnetic rail high above ground that would move freight into every nook and cranny in the us for and other nations.
As for personal transportation we can build an infrastructure of virtual highways and fly our vehicles.
Polak all the roadways and farm for food, including throughout our suburbs!
Imagination and ingenuity will boost our economy!
End the corporate stranglehold of big energy.

Gennaro ApreaSep 27 2011 05:23 AM

I am an Italian environmentalist who dealt with energy matters since 1954 and with environmental problems since 1980.
I am just completing to write a book (in Italian)entitled "A marketing strategy to save the environment". The KeystoneXL pipeline was already mentioned in this book but I shall immediatley add the information of the 7 Nobel Prize who wrote the letter to the President Obama,
I don't know how to add my signature to that letter; please help me, thanks
Gennaro Aprea -

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