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Susan Casey-Lefkowitz’s Blog

Over half a million anti-Valentines to the Keystone XL pipeline: The American public has no love for tar sands

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz

Posted February 14, 2012 in Curbing Pollution, Moving Beyond Oil, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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Americans from all walks of life who want to fight climate change and build a clean energy future have sent a clear message: the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in the national interest. Working with a large coalition of partners, our goal was to send a half million messages opposing the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to the Senate in just 24 hours. The messages opposed a Senate effort to overrule the President’s denial of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. An unprecedented coming together of people from across the country eclipsed that goal before the challenge was half over. Over the last 24 hours the air was filled with tweets, facebook posts, blogs, and emails asking people to make their opinion known and how they responded! The final count was just over 800,000 messages sent.  It's time for lawmakers to start heeding people across the country who are saying no to this Big Oil project and other dirty energy projects. Lawmakers and the oil industry should consider this an anti-Valentine message for tar sands. We don’t love it and we don’t need it. Americans know that we can do better for our climate, water and farmlands than expansion of destructive and expensive Canadian tar sands.

Once again, we see how much people value their clean air and water. We see that people are worried about what a changing climate in the form of violent storms, floods and droughts means for their homes and pocketbooks today and for their children tomorrow. We see that Americans know that we have the ability to do better than going after ever dirtier and more expensive forms of fuel such as high carbon tar sands that are strip-mined and drilled from under Canada’s Boreal forests and wetlands. And we see that Americans know that we should not bear the risk of a tar sands pipeline that is more likely to leak and more difficult to clean up than regular oil. Once the public learns about the risks of tar sands – they say no to that energy source and its pipeline. Americans are enthusiastic about clean energy and using American innovation and ingenuity to get there. There is no love for dirty energy solutions such as tar sands.

In their latest shenanigan, a number of Republicans in the Senate have proposed an amendment to the transportation bill to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Congress approving a single pipeline project? What happened to our normal environmental review and permitting process, you might ask. The sad tale of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is that the review process was underway and expected to be completed in early 2013. Many Republicans in Congress didn’t want to wait and so they attached a requirement to make a decision on the tar sands pipeline to the end of year payroll tax relief legislation. With only 60 days to make a decision, President Obama denied the permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in January. That should have been the end of the story. But a number of Republicans in Congress are now coming back and trying to have Congress itself approve this project that is already dead. A pipeline approval provision passed in the Republican House and just this week a number of Republican Senators have introduced an approval provision to the completely unrelated transportation bill.

The transportation bill should not be weighed down by controversial and unrelated provisions such as an attempt to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. And this assault on fair process and on health and environmental safeguards has sparked an outcry from across America. I have been so inspired to see the outpouring of enthusiasm from all walks of life in just the last 24 hours, saying yes to clean energy and no to dirty tar sands. And I hope that our Senators listen – the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not where the love is.

 

See Bill McKibben on the Colbert Report about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the effort to get a half million messages to the Senate in 24 hours: http://www.treehugger.com/fossil-fuels/bill-mckibben-talks-keystone-xl-colbert-report-video.html

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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