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Susan Casey-Lefkowitz’s Blog

Rejected: Keystone XL tar sands pipeline permit denied despite Big Oil bullying

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz

Posted January 18, 2012

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Today, President Obama changed the rules of the game: he stood up to Big Oil’s bullying and rejected the massively destructive Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The pipeline was rejected for all the right reasons. President Obama put the health and safety of our people, our air, lands and water – our national interest—above the interests of Big Oil. This a victory shared by many today – by farmers in Nebraska and all along the pipeline route and by those who have already suffered the harm of climate change in droughts, fires, floods and violent storms.

Rather than bringing America energy security, the tar sands pipeline would have bypassed the Midwest so that tar sands could be exported with tax benefits for the oil companies. Rather than provide a national jobs plan based on clean energy, the pipeline would have put our land, water and climate at risk for a single construction project. And rather than lowering oil prices, the pipeline would have lowered oil supply in the Midwest causing prices there to rise.

Republicans in the House brought this decision to a head. The President was going to take another year for a new route through Nebraska that would not cross the fragile Sandhills to be determined and assessed. But with a provision in the payroll tax holiday extension bill to force a decision by February 21, the Administration had no choice but to reject the permit application. How could a pipeline be approved when the whole route is not even known?

The President stood up to Big Oil – despite threats of “huge consequences.”  He listened to millions of Americans who said that we are done with oil schemes that pollute our homes and water and wreak havoc with our climate all so that oil companies can make out like bandits. He showed the kind of leadership that Americans look for and that people around the world respect. By rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the President stood up for our health, our safety, our farms, our homes in protecting us against tar sands oil spills and climate change. That is the kind of leadership that takes us into a clean energy future.

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Judith JaffeJan 18 2012 05:13 PM

Congratulations to you and the whole team effort to urge the rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline! And congratulations to President Obama who listened to the environmental movement and rejected this pipeline to transport the dirty tar sands oil, against the pressure of those who were trying to force a decision without allowing proper review ot the impact, which would have been very negative.

Connie PeabodyJan 19 2012 03:56 PM

Letter sent to President Obama:
BRAVO!!! Thank you President Obama for taking the morally correct path by opposing the KEYSTONE TAR SANDS PROJECT. Don't be discouraged by the irate corporate voices who will complain that this was a project "shovel ready" and would eliminate jobs. The reality is that this project would only benefit a few, but more importantly it has the potential to contaminate the Ogallala aquifer providing water to many midwestern states. A better source of jobs would be to set up a program to rebuild urban infrastructures. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THIS TOUGH STANCE. WE'RE PROUD OF OUR PRESIDENT!!!
Mark & Connie Peabody

Lucas H Van RhynJan 19 2012 04:32 PM

Finally the Pres. is showing some backbone and telling the Repubs. and their Corporate Handlers to stuff it.It is high time to go for renewable Energy instead of raping the land for its dirty fossil fuels.Here in N.Y we are trying to stop Hydrofracking a technique almost as polluting as (clean) coal technology, another bald faced lie by the corporate liars .
Lucas H Van Rhyn

JCBCJan 19 2012 05:00 PM

Hello Susan,

Just saw you on the internet. I am from Canada.

Why don't you people find something else to do than nose around in our business. You keeps saying global warning is real. Where is this proof. It is simply nature doing what nature does.

We had global warming many times throughout history when there were no factories or cars but you seem to avoid the true facts with your mumbo jumbo ideas.

Why can you get your facts straight. If you weren't getting paid by some sucker sponsor to sprew this stuff, you would be on to some other scam to make money.

What are you planning to use to replace the energy we get from oil. Solar Panels. Isn't there a big company from California that scammed the US Obama government recently for hundreds of millions of dollars and gave back nothing. Not a single watt of power.

Wind farms are failing by the dozen and the machinery is catching fire. Your entire excuse to stop oil and replace it with solar and wind is not logical. Look at the real facts. Billions will be wasted by people like you and the suckers will still give you more money. In Canada, we know scams when we see one and you have no buisness up here. Stay away from Canada and keep your Enviro Ideas - which are total failures to yourself.

20 years from now you will be known as the Nevil Chamberlands of the Enviro movement. Too smart for your own good.

Where is the proof you are right.


Mark WendmanJan 19 2012 05:04 PM

might have been a really hollow short lived victory ... ( thank goodness )

TransCanada May Shorten Keystone XL, Bypass Federal Review
January 19, 2012, 4:27 PM EST

Well I'll be darned, legal obfuscation by NRDC might have met its comeuppance.

Somehow the actual cross border transit is already done, ( from the exiting older keystone ) and the bulk of the proposed pipeline will get built in the interim, the final extra capacity connector will likely just get done by waiting you out.

FWIW a sensible perspective, countering your nonsense, is found here

Fundamentally NRDCs strategy is pretty hollow, and will not limit initial tar sands production ramps in any substantive manner.

As I indicated before, if you wish to pursue the proper strategies of some larger "durable" longer lasting effect, you have to do more than lame atty's work of litigation and lobbying.

You actually have to promote develop and implement sensible low GHG technologies, not like the war on BrightSource's MSCSP that NRDC and SC led the charge on hypocritically. ( that was as transparent as can be and it ain't a pretty look at all )

John L.Jan 19 2012 11:14 PM

From listening to this Lady Today on C.T.V. it sounds that She wants to completely kill the "Tar Sands" Project, and deny Hundreds of thousands Working Alberta, and Canadian Families Their livilihoods. Not to mention the Hundreds of Billions of Royalties to Government coffers. She doesn't give any mention to efforts to ameliorate Ecological damage.
Maybe She should stop riding Her Bicycle around whatever Urbane Environment She lives in and visit Western Canada some Day.
She won't be welcome.

linda m bishopJan 20 2012 11:05 AM

in response to the vitriolic attacks from the (supposedly) canadian citizens: sounds like oil industry shills, trolls, whatever, to me. i know a lot of real people in canada who are just as outraged by the tar sands project as we are. there will always be differing opinions on any subject; but, creating "thousands of jobs" by destroying the earth is an absolute crime. look at the photos of the tar sands operation. aren't they lovely? kind of like the mountaintop removal photos in the destroyed coal producing regions of the u.s. just how much of our amazing planet are you willing to destroy for jobs? IF YOU CAN'T BREATHE THE AIR OR DRINK THE WATER, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.

marshall jJan 20 2012 01:22 PM

Hydrogen is easy to make. But oil co. don't know how to sell the water. You can totally run your car and heat your home with water power! And its on demand too. It really does work. Check it out. Its all over youtube. And the byproduct is just what the earth needs. There are so many other alternatives to oil what are we waiting for?

Jeffrey LJan 21 2012 07:44 AM

To Susan

Thank you for your blog and congrats to the president.

Don't listen to people like JCBC. Some people would rather listen to corporate lies than the scientists who have been studying climate change for decades.
I'm sure it is just ignorance and hopefully we can get them educated so we can all stand together to save our planet.

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