Following is Green America’s Response to the March 2013 Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) from the U.S. Department of State on the Keystone XL Pipeline:
Green America is a national organization with 150,000 individual members and 4,000 business members. We are dedicated to using marketplace mechanisms to solve social and environmental challenges facing our nation, including the challenge of climate change and the need to build a strong, U.S. clean energy economy.
Our organization and members are opposed to the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline because of its consequences for human health, our economy, the environment, energy security, and the profound setback it represents for mitigating the global climate crisis.
The State Department’s latest SEIS affirms what we have long known — that the tar sands fuel the pipeline would transport generates more greenhouse gas emissions than regular oil. Increases in these emissions have proven, profound implications for the environment and for human health, as documented by the World Health Organization. The urgent need we face as a nation is to make the shift to a clean energy economy. The Keystone XL Pipeline will further entrench the fossil fuel industry and dangerously delay the development of our domestic, clean, renewable energy sectors.
The report also confirms that the job creation potential of the Pipeline will be far less than touted earlier by industry – and that the number of permanent jobs, post construction, is merely thirty-five. We need to invest in clean energy development and energy efficiency – where domestic job creation holds real potential. Clean energy jobs provide more career opportunities than the fossil fuel industry “across all levels of skill and education,” according to the Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. More jobs – and enduring ones at that – could be created by building our domestic energy sector. Moreover, data from sources such as Cornell University’s Global Labor Institute, which show how the Keystone XL Pipeline can actually cause job loss in the US (through pipeline spills and increased fuel costs in the Midwest) has been under-reported.
Contrary to claims that the Keystone XL Pipeline will provide a secure source of energy for the U.S., we understand that our country will face the dangers of transporting the tar sands for the purpose of exporting the fuel overseas from the Gulf of Mexico. The benefit of this accrues to large oil companies and not to the American people.
In closing, we are disappointed that the draft SEIS as a whole failed to adequately address the range and depth of serious negative consequences of proceeding with the Keystone XL Pipeline. These consequences include environmental destruction and pollution, threats to human health, harm to indigenous communities, setbacks to U.S. competitiveness in the clean energy sector, and exacerbation of climate change. We believe that the Final SEIS should conclude that the Keystone XL Pipeline is not in our national interest, and that the Department of State should recommend that the President reject this project. Now is the time for major investment in U.S. clean energy industries. Rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline presents a historic opportunity to demonstrate U.S. leadership to create the clean energy future upon which we depend.