Leaders of 30 conservation groups representing millions of Americans sent a letter to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on May 21 urging her to speak out against the Keystone XL pipeline. Secretary Clinton has yet to take a public position on Keystone XL. “Coming out strong against Keystone XL gives Hillary a chance to show the climate movement that she stands with us, and not the fossil fuel industry,” says May Boeve, executive director of 350.org.
The Obama administration has once again postponed a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, likely delaying a final decision until after the November 2014 elections. It seems clear that the anti-pipeline campaign initiated in the heartland and sparked as a national issue by our civil disobedience demonstrations at the White House in 2011 continues to have an impact.
Secretary Kerry already knows the answer to the question of whether granting a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest: the pipeline is not in the U.S. interest and it is not in the global interest, we said in our Climate Science Watch comment on the State Department’s National Interest Determination on the pipeline.
From an open letter on April 7: “A critical first step is to stop making climate change worse by tapping into disproportionately carbon-intensive energy sources like tar sands bitumen. The Keystone XL pipeline will drive expansion of the energy-intensive strip-mining and drilling of tar sands from under Canada’s Boreal forest, increasing global carbon emissions. … [T]he State Department environmental review [used] business-as-usual energy scenarios that would lead to a catastrophic six degrees Celsius rise in global warming. … Six degrees Celsius of global warming has no place in a sound climate plan.”
The multiple reasons to oppose granting a construction permit include an overriding national interest in forestalling the development of a major new fossil fuel source that will exacerbate global climatic disruption and undermine the transformation of the energy system to decarbonized sources.
The State Department’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline environmental impact statement doesn’t include any scenario in which the U.S. comes anywhere close to meeting the Obama administration’s climate goals. The study fails to disclose that its conclusions are only valid in the context of American and global climate policy failure.