Tell Obama: NO to tar sands crude, YES to renewables

Time is short to stop a disastrous, climate-wrecking energy project from running roughshod over the American heartland. We need your help to convince the Obama Administration to stand firm in its opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Last November, the Obama Administration pushed the deadline on its final pipeline decision into early 2013, determining that current impact studies on the proposed pipeline were insufficient to make a final decision.

A fair and measured period of scrutiny for the proposed pipeline is exactly what Big Oil and Republicans in Congress don’t want, because this project fails on every score. It’s bad for the environment, human health, climate change, and our economy. That’s why Congressional Republicans pushed legislation in December designed to force a presidential decision on the pipeline sooner – by February 2012.

In these tough economic times, to whip up support for the pipeline, the oil industry and many Republicans falsely claim that we need the Keystone XL for job creation. Jobs estimates for the pipeline, however, have been wildly exaggerated and bring only false hope. Far more jobs – and enduring ones at that – would be created by building our domestic renewable energy sector. In fact, investment in clean energy generates 3-4 times as many jobs as investments in fossil fuels.

President Obama needs to hear from the public that the Keystone XL pipeline is wrong for our country. Please contact the White House TODAY to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and to support investment in the US clean energy sector.

Call the White House public comment line at: 202-456-1111

Or e-mail the White House here.

Together, last fall, we demanded that this project be fully vetted, even though Big Oil wanted it fast-tracked, and we WON. With Congress pressuring the president to provide a final answer by February, it is imperative that once again, together, we send the strongest message possible thta his answer must be a resounding NO to dirty tar-sands crude.

House Republicans Follow Senate’s Direction on Keystone XL Pipeline

On December 2, 2011, two days after the introduction of a Senate bill to fast-track decision-making on the Keystone XL pipeline, House Republicans released their plans to expedite the pipeline permitting process — and also to take the decision away from the State Department and to grant it to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The House bill is sponsored by Rep. Terry Lee (R-NE).

Pressure from Big Oil and the Chamber of Commerce should not be allowed to override thorough consideration of the dangerous consequences of the KXL pipeline. Green America opposes construction of the pipeline due to the perils it presents for human health, the environment and climate change, as well as the tremendous setback the pipeline would mean for development of our domestic, renewable energy sector.

Rep. Lee has stated that Republicans aim to attach the bill to legislation that Democrats seek on extending unemployment insurance and payroll tax cuts.

Some in Congress are trying to use our country’s dire need for job creation as an excuse to build this pipeline. Data on job creation commissioned by the oil industry, while still in circulation, has been grossly inflated. We will generate more good quality, lasting jobs through investment in clean energy. A report from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) finds that clean energy jobs will provide more career opportunities than the fossil fuel sector does “across all levels of skill and education” and “a high proportion of the jobs generated by clean-energy investments should offer good opportunities for advancement through training programs.” While estimates vary, PERI finds that investment in clean energy generates approximately 3-4 times as many jobs as investments in fossil fuel industries.

So what are we waiting for? We are dangerously late in shifting to clean energy options and haven’t a moment to spare in making renewable energy our primary source of power.

Encircling the White House & Standing Against Keystone XL

This afternoon, I joined Green Festival regional director Alix Davidson and Green America policy director Fran Teplitz at Lafayette Park, two blocks away from Green America’s offices, and directly in front of the White House, for today’s day of action against the Keystone XL Pipeline.

At the rally before the action, inspirational speakers like Rev. Lennox Yearwood and Tom Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglalla Lakota reminded the crowd of President Obama’s promises as a candidate to break the tyranny of oil.  Rev. Jim Wallis, of Sojourners, likened the United States to an addict with a substance abuse problem, and exhorted protestors to perform an intervention.  And intervene we did!  We had more than enough demonstrators on hand to entirely circle the White House and demand that President Obama block the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Though the State Department has signed off on the trans-national pipeline (which would destroy boreal forests in Canada, and transport a highly toxic and dangerous form of crude across the sensitive aquifers and farmland of the American heartland), the ultimate decision to build the pipeline lies with President Obama.  During the action, there were rumors that Obama had left the White House to drive around the perimeter and view the protest.   His decision is expected by the end of the year.

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Obama Must Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline

The following post is re-published from Green America’s syndicated opinion column, which appears in newspapers around the country.  For reprint permission, please e-mail andrew at green america dot org.

Here’s a chance for the president to uphold that campaign pledge to “end the tyranny of oil” in the United States. (For more on the Nov. 6 day of action, click here.)

The seven members of Congress who signed a strongly worded letter to an Obama cabinet official on October 5 raised serious concerns about the administration’s cozy relationship with a high-profile energy company.

“Rather than acting as fair arbiters of [the company’s] application…State Department officials appear to have acted as little more than cheerleaders for the company’s bid,” Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and the other lawmakers wrote.

Is this the newest development in the Solyndra solar company’s loan-guarantee debacle? No. The seven lawmakers were concerned about an energy project with the potential to do much more damage than a loan guarantee for a failed solar start-up ever could. Continue reading “Obama Must Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline”

2 New Developments on Keystone XL Pipeline Today

Two new twists today in the saga of the the Keystone XL Pipeline: Seven House Democrats came out in opposition to the pipeline, three environmental organizations filed suit in Nebraska to halt its construction. 

In September, 5,000 small businesses from Green America’s business network and the Green Chamber of Commerce weighed in on the pipeline, sending a letter to President Obama urging him to focus on clean energy technologies and to reject a new Canadian tar sands pipeline that keeps us dependent on fossil fuels.

Extraction and refinement of oil sands are more greenhouse-gas intensive than conventional oil, with the EPA concluding that the Keystone XL  project could yield as much as 1.15 billion tons of additional greenhouse gases. Plus, the pipeline travels through America’s agricultural heartland and could threaten the drinking water of 2 million people, in the event of a BP-style spill.

The State Department’s final public hearing on the project is coming up this Friday in Washington, DC.