Breaking: State Department Issues Permit for Alberta Tar Sands Pipeline

450,000 Barrels/day of Dirty, Climate Destroying Oil to Flow Into US

The decision sat on Clinton’s desk for months, and with a stroke of the pen, she could have denied this expansion of dirty energy infrastructure. But today, the State Department issued the permit, committing the US to more CO2 emissions from oil, and committing Canada to more destruction of indigenous lands and Boreal forest. We brought the Tar Sands Monster to Clinton’s doorstep, generated thousands of phone calls and emails, but Clinton failed to make the right decision.

From the State Department:

After considerable review and evaluation, on August 20, 2009, the Department issued a Presidential Permit to Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership for the Alberta Clipper pipeline.

Yet they insist that the US and Canada are committed to finding climate solutions:

The State Department will continue to work to ensure that both the United States and Canada take ambitious action to address climate change, and will cooperate with the Canadian government through the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue, the pursuit of comprehensive climate legislation, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Avaaz Action Factory will deliver this letter to the state department tomorrow. Please help us by sending them an email using this as a starting point.

Dear Secretary Clinton,

We are very upset about your decision, announced today, to approve the Clipper pipeline that will carry dirty tar sands oil from Alberta into the US. If you and the president are truly committed to “reducing overall emissions and leading the global transition to a low-carbon economy,” as mentioned in today’s release, then this decision is entirely hypocritical. The use of tar sands for energy in the US will certainly increase, not reduce, our overall carbon emissions.

A few weeks ago, we let you know about the problems associated with the construction of the Alberta Clipper Pipeline. We urged you not to approve the destruction of indigenous lands and increased carbon emissions that this pipeline will bring. Hopeful that you would make the right choice, we acted out a skit in front of your office at the State Department, where you rescued Canada, America and the rest of the world from the filthy, evil Tar Sands Monster. We filled up your voicemail box numerous times with phone calls from across the country, and we sent you over 10,000 emails urging you to deny this permit.

Today’s statement asserts that this permit approval sends a “positive economic signal.” We can’t afford to send any more positive economic signals to dirty energy corporations; instead we must only send positive signals to those who are creating green economic prosperity. We have been encouraged by the administration’s rhetoric that economic growth and fighting climate change are not in fact mutually exclusive, but this decision does not reflect that perspective.

This oil pipeline will only extend the US’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels for decades to come instead of reversing global warming and putting the US on a low-carbon track towards green economic prosperity. We’re watching your decisions. We are aware of the contradictions between your words and actions, and we are disappointed.


Avaaz Action Factory

Update: Reuters says its OK because the state department took greenhouse gasses into account:

The State Department said it took greenhouse gas emissions into account when deciding to issue the permit, saying that the issue is best addressed through the domestic policies of the United States and Canada and through international agreements.

7 Responses to “Breaking: State Department Issues Permit for Alberta Tar Sands Pipeline”

  1. 1 rubylevine Aug 20th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing this letter template — I adapted it and sent the email.

  2. 2 Nick Magel Aug 20th, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks for the update Morgan. This is scary stuff, you can’t find a much dirtier source of energy than this nasty fuel. What’s even scarier is what kind of precedent a decision like this makes.

    Take a look at the maps (linked below) and see how this decision may open the flood gates to a full on tar sands wave in North America if we don’t stop it NOW.

    thanks to for the great visuals.

  3. 3 Jon Erik Kingstad Aug 21st, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    As a person who has been directly involved in filing comments and reviewing the State Department Final EIS, I can say that any report the State Department took into account “greenhouse gas emissions” is substantially misleading if not a flat out lie. The State Department carefully and deliberately excluded the environmental impacts of Alberta tar sands mining in Alberta as well as the likely environmental effects of greenhouse gas emissions by the refineries in the US that will process the stuff. It has been well documented that the Alberta tar sands mining is the single factor in Canada abrogating its commitment to the Kyoto anti-global warming treaty. Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration issued this permit in spite of this fact. Alberta is already veering toward environmental Armageddon. It will run out of the water and natural gas needed to mine Alberta tar sands long before the tar sands are close to depleted. The Athabasca river will be contaminated if not dried out by the diversion of water. Will the US sanction diversion of the Great Lakes to Alberta slake its greedy and insatiable thirst for fossil fuels? Here you have your precedent.

  1. 1 The Understory » Tar Sands Fighters to U.S. News Media: WAKE UP Trackback on Sep 11th, 2009 at 1:25 am
  2. 2 Tar Sands Fighters to U.S. News Media: WAKE UP! « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Sep 14th, 2009 at 1:57 pm
  3. 3 ACT: Tell the State Dept. to Stop the Tar Sands Pipeline « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Jul 1st, 2010 at 1:49 pm
  4. 4 ACT: Tell the State Dept. to Stop the Tar Sands Pipeline | Peaceful Uprising Trackback on Jul 1st, 2010 at 2:05 pm
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About Morgan

Morgan is a wandering climate activist, a job well suited to the editorial board of this site. He organized at Williams College until his aprubt and unfortunate graduation in 2008. There, he was a Chinese major, student body co-president and one of the leaders of Thursday Night Group, the campus climate action group. Since graduating, in no particular order, Morgan has worked on a community energy efficiency campaign in western Mass, co-directed NH SPROG for the SSC and worked on Power Vote in Cleveland. He spent traveled in China, networking with youth climate activists and learning about the solar hot water business. He worked on Long Island for a solar and wind company doing home evaluations and sales. And he spent the better part of a year in DC at the Avaaz Action Factory causing trouble for a good cause.

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