“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children… [I]f Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” -- Barack Obama, February 12, 2013
On Friday, March 1, the US State Department issued its Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, claiming that KXL will not “likely result in significant adverse environmental effects.”
This claim stems largely from the report’s blanket assumption that tar sands oil will be extracted and burned anyway – by somebody -- regardless of US action. In other words, somebody’s going to wreck the climate anyway, and the wreckage won’t be any worse if it’s us.
Such fatalistic reasoning minimizes the terrible climate-change consequences of processing and burning tar sands, which even the SEIS report admits generates far more greenhouse emissions than regular oil. Perhaps even more significant, the report also admits that the US can meet its energy needs over the next decade without relying on tar sands — then supports the pipeline anyway.
Ultimately, however, this decision rests with President Obama. And while a thumbs-up from the State Department could encourage him to green-light the project, it’s not in any way a done deal. According to the New York Times (which urgred the president to block the pipeline), the president is unlikely to make a decision before midsummer; meanwhile, public comment on the SEIS report is open through mid-April.
Please take a moment to send the letter below (or edit it to say in your own words that the KXL is a climate disaster and will create very few permanent jobs). We need to let the president know that we will hold him accountable for his promises to act on behalf of future generations to respond to the threat of climate change.