State Department KXL Report: Now Up To Obama Reject Pipeline

Below are a series of reactions to the State Department Report on the KXL Pipeline.

Friends of the Earth Responds to Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement

Friends of the Earth

WASHINGTON – January 31 – Today the State Department will release its Environmental Impact Statement for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Below is a statement from Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica:

“The State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline is a farce. Since the beginning of the assessment, the oil industry has had a direct pipeline into the agency. Perhaps most frustrating, is the apparent collusion between the State Department, oil industry and the Canadian government.

In what could be perceived as eagerness to please the oil industry and Canadian government, the State Department is issuing this report amidst an ongoing investigation into conflicts of interest, and lying, by its contractor. It is unacceptable that the oil industry and a foreign government are better informed than the American Congress and its citizenry.

By letting the oil industry influence this process, Secretary Kerry is undermining his long-established reputation as a leader in the fight against climate change. President Obama can end this charade; sufficient scientific data exists to justify denying the Keystone XL pipeline. It is a simple matter of having the political will, and courage, to stand up to the oil industry. This decision is a defining moment his environmental legacy.”

###

Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

State Department Admits Keystone XL Could Equal 5.7 Million Cars

Response to State Department’s release of Keystone XL environmental impact statement

Oil Change International

WASHINGTON – January 31 – n response to the release, Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International, released the following statement:

“The State Department’s review, written by Big Oil’s cronies, presents a fatalistic view of a future devastated by extreme and catastrophic climate change. But we, and millions of Americans, know there is a different way.

This report assumes business as usual, which is not surprising for an industry-written report. Despite that, the report concedes that the emissions impact could be “1.3 to 27.4 MMTCO2e annually,”[1] equivalent to as many as 5.7 million new cars.

5.7 million new cars is clearly a significant increase in carbon emissions.

There’s a new scenario we’re seeing grow stronger every day, one of concerned citizens rising up and saying no to Big Oil wrecking our communities and our climate. As recently as two years ago no one in Washington thought this pipeline could be stopped. Importantly, this report also concedes that other pipelines, such as the Northern Gateway, are looking less likely because of strong opposition.

The President says he understands climate and is committed to acting in the interests of posterity and not big donors. That means rejecting Keystone XL, plain and simple. The President and Secretary of State Kerry have all the information they need to reject this pipeline.

As a new phase of public comments begins, we know the President will be hearing loud and clear that this report is an artifact of a corrupt process, and the pipeline is a disaster for our climate, our communities, and our future.”

[1] Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL Project Executive Summary, January 2014, page 15 http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/documents/organization/221135.pdf

###

Oil Change International is a research, communication, and advocacy organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the coming transition towards clean energy.

350.org: State Department Report Means We Work Harder

#NoKXL

350.org

Today the State Department released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on Keystone XL, starting the official countdown to a final decision by President Obama on the pipeline.

Big oil hand-picked the reviewers of the pipeline, which means the report avoids taking a stand on the pipeline’s climate impacts — leaving the ball entirely in President Obama’s court. As always, he has all the evidence he needs to reject the pipeline.

The last time State released an FEIS about Keystone XL in 2011, 59 people were arrested that same day just outside the White House in what was just day 6 of a two week sit-in to stop the pipeline. Those sit-ins grew to actions across the country, which grew to a historic rally that surrounded the White House and forced President Obama to delay the pipeline, keeping millions of barrels of oil in the ground and millions of dollars out of the hands of big oil.

In other words, today is just the starting point for the next crucial phase of this fight. Together, I believe we can once more stop the pipeline.

We won’t do it by relying on the State Department, whose process has been riddled with conflicts of interest and big oil’s money. Nor by relying on the President’s good intentions — his lofty rhetoric about climate change has been betrayed too many times by weak action and backtracking.

As we showed in 2011, the only time you can count on the President is when you have him completely surrounded. And so it’s up to us to mobilize again, and put the pressure on from all sides.

Step one is to show our resolve and disappointment in this broken process. On Monday night, all across the country, people will be gathering to mark this moment together at protest vigils, where we will light the night with our resolve to keep fighting. We need to show the media, big oil and the President that this movement is mobilized and unafraid. Can you be there?

Click here to look for an event near you, and sign up to host if there isn’t one near you: actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/kxl-fseis?referrer=350-org&zipcode=21212

Step two is to set some firm plans. Next Tuesday, Feb 4th the night after the protest vigils, 350 will host an online video chat to lay out some ideas for what we can do to put the pressure on President Obama over the coming months. Click here to RSVP, and we’ll send you a reminder when it happens.

Keystone XL is a critical piece in big oil’s plan to dig up and burn all of the tar sands. We’ll continue to face them down on other fronts too — East, West, South; by rail or pipe — to keep this oil in the ground.

Big oil wants you to believe that today’s report means this fight is over. And that’s the difference between us and them.

Where they see a finish line, we see the starting blocks. Where they see a pipeline route, we see homes, and farmland. Where they see an export facility, we see a community struggling to breathe. Where they see an oil patch, we see a boreal forest and the violation of treaties.

Where they see a bottom line, we see our future on the line.

Bold Nebraska Response to State Dept. Environmental Report on KXL

Bold Nebraska

WASHINGTON – January 31 – We have compiled key information for the press and public in response to the release of the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone XL today.

Jane Kleeb is available via email jane@boldnebraska.org for questions or contact with landowners. 

Pictures: All pictures on Flickr can be downloaded and used for press outlets, please source Bold Nebraska and photographer listed.

Key Background Info and Timeline: The State Department’s next phase in the review of Keystone XL pipeline was issued today. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is one report the President receives before making his final decision on TransCanada’s permit. There is also a critical National Interest Determination (NID) process that starts today, and lasts up to 90 days for the public and 105 days for federal agencies. The NID must look at other areas than the environment to determine if this pipeline is our national interest, such as domestic energy production (more info on NID here). The State Department’s timeline can be halted if we are successful in the lawsuit against the illegal routing process for our state (more info on lawsuit here). We expect a decision on the lawsuit by the end of March 2014 and both sides are ready to appeal to Supreme Court.

Quotes: 

Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska executive director:

  • Contact: 402-705-3622, jane@boldnebraska.org
  • Picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/9306960101/in/set-72157634677116463
  • “The State Department acknowledges there is risk to our water and Keystone XL will increase tarsands production. TransCanada is fighting for their bottom line, while farmers and ranchers are fighting for their livelihoods and the Ogallala Aquifer which at one point our Governor stood with us to protect. We are in this fight to win and are confident Pres. Obama will make the right decision and deny the permit.”

Randy Thompson, Nebraska landowner and rancher

  • Chair of All Risk, No Reward Coalition, face of the “Stand with Randy” campaign

  • Contact: 402-920-2759, randyft@windstream.net

  • “I appreciate the fact that the State Department held their final hearing here in Nebraska. It is my hope that they took to heart the dramatic and overwhelming testimony they heard from Nebraska citizens on that cold day in Grand Island. Hopefully, those involved in the decision making process will realize that protecting the greatest fresh water aquifer in the western hemisphere from any unnecessary risks of contamination is a “no brainer.” Another critical part of the equation that is not included in this, or any EIS, is the issue of individual property rights of American citizens who would be unjustifiably forced to forfeit those rights for this project. An export pipeline built by a private, for profit corporation, should never be granted the power of eminent domain. If the President truly values the rights of American citizens, along with many of our nation’s most valuable natural resources, then it should be an easy ‘NO’ decision for him.”

Jenni Harrington, Nebraska landowner in the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route

  • Hosted the “Build Our Energy” project, a wind & solar-powered barn built directly in the pipeline’s path, on her family’s land

  • Contact: 402-363-8591, jenniharrington28@gmail.com

  • “We are encouraged the State Department is finally offering a more balanced view of Keystone XL’s risks. After watching the tarsands spills in Michigan and Arkansas, we know pollution is not “localized” but rather hurts families and communities. President Obama said he wants to be able to look his grandkids in the eye and say “yes I did” do everything to leave a safer, more stable world with new sources of energy. That is my wish too and tarsands is too dirty and too risky to be part of our collective vision for our kids.”

Ken Winston, Policy Director for Nebraska Sierra Club

  • Contact: 402-212-3737, ken.winston@nebraska.sierraclub.org
  • “Keystone XL continues to fail all the tests that President Obama has said it must pass. It clearly fails the climate test that he laid out last summer, because every major climate change expert has concluded that it would significantly exacerbate climate change. It also fails the test that President Obama used when he denied the permit in 2012, because it threatens America’s greatest freshwater resource, the Ogallala Aquifer, at many points where it is close to the surface and most vulnerable. President Obama needs deny the permit in order to honor his commitments to the American people to fight climate change and protect our most valuable resources.”

President Has All Information Needed to Reject Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

WASHINGTON – January 31 – The following is a statement by Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, international program director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, on the State Department’s final environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline:

“Even though the State Department continues to downplay clear evidence that the Keystone XL pipeline would lead to tar sands expansion and significantly worsen carbon pollution, it has, for the first time, acknowledged that the proposed project could accelerate climate change. President Obama now has all the information he needs to reject the pipeline. Piping the dirtiest oil on the planet through the heart of America would endanger our farms, our communities, our fresh water and our climate. That is absolutely not in our national interest. Keystone XL should be rejected.”

NRDC issued a report in October 2013 with the latest information on the climate impacts of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline here:http://www.nrdc.org/energy/keystone-pipeline/files/tar-sands-climate-impacts-IB.pdf

Video of people impacted by the pipeline and tar sands production can be found here:
http://www.nrdc.org/energy/keystone-pipeline/tar-sands-stories/

###
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

Approving Keystone XL Could Be the Biggest Mistake of Obama’s Presidency

A State Department report fails to take into account the full climate impacts of Keystone XL. Who is Obama protecting?

I have made my position on the Keystone XL pipeline quite clear. Approving this hotly debated pipeline would send America down the wrong path. The science tells us now is the time that we should be throwing everything we have into creating a clean 21st century energy economy, not doubling down on the dirty energy that is imperiling our planet.

Now that the State Department has just released a final environmental impact report on Keystone XL, which appears to downplay the threat, and greatly increases the odds that the Obama administration will approve the project, I feel I must weigh in once again.

The simple fact is this: if Keystone XL is built, it will be easier to exploit fossil fuel reserves large enough to drastically destabilize the climate. A direct pipeline to refineries and global markets makes the business of polluting the atmosphere that much cheaper and easier.

The only truly accurate examination of the pipeline would include a full cost accounting its environmental footprint. It needs to take into account how much energy is consumed in refining and transporting the crude from oil sands. It must acknowledge that the pipeline would lower the cost and raise the convenience of extracting and exporting the incredibly carbon-intensive deposits of gas.

There are two main issues at stake in the Keystone XL decision: path dependency and US leadership. Path dependency is the term use to describe the fact that once a policy is put into place, it then constrains future options to those within that policy framework. More simply, the choices we make now determine what choices we get to make in the future.

A classic example is the “qwerty” keyboard layout. Even though this layout may not be the most efficient, it was the first one, and so it became the standard. New keyboard layouts would have to compete with an established format, meaning consumers would have to adapt to a new system they had no experience with. On the basis solely of legacy, inferior standards or policies remain in place, more or less out of inertia.

So, looking through the lens of path dependency, what does the Keystone XL project look like?

It looks like decades of extracting high-CO2 fuel at a time when we should be winding down such carbon intensive resource exploitation. It looks like decades of oil spills across America’s heartland written off as an acceptable side effect of making money. It looks like decades of continued political lobbying against any CO2-limiting regulations.

If approved and built, it looks like the United State is failing to take climate change seriously by virtually guaranteeing the massive Canadian oil sands reserved are exploited. That, I’m afraid, is the real threat of Keystone XL – the loss of US status as a global leader.

As the world looks to 2015 for the establishment of legally binding emissions targets, it is looking to the US for inspiration and leadership. While opponents of carbon regulations routinely point to China and India as an excuse for further inaction, the US is still the dominant force in world politics. If Obama puts his foot down and tells us the pipeline will not be built, he will be telling the world that the United States is committed to a future powered by clean renewable energy. For better or for worse, as the US goes so goes the planet.

If the United States takes the climatologically necessary step of preventing the Keystone pipeline, it sends a message more powerful than any protest, watered down regulation or rosy proclamation. It says that business as usual is no longer an option. It says carbon pollution is a serious problem. It says that we will no longer be held hostage by ideologues demanding, “More fossil fuels, or the economy gets it!”

Protecting our planet from Keystone XL would protect US standing on the global stage, and by reassuring all nations that the United States takes climate change seriously, it would protect international negotiations from devolving into a finger pointing, blame shifting debacle. Protecting us from Keystone XL would protect us from decades of continued foreign influence on US energy policy. Protecting us from Keystone XL would protect US land from oil spills and leaks.

Most importantly, protecting us from Keystone XL would protect our atmosphere from one of the most carbon-intensive fuels ever discovered.

If the president won’t protect us, who is he protecting?

Michael Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University. He was recognised with other Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change authors for their contribution to the IPCC’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Follow him @MichaelEMann