Tomorrow, July 2nd, is the deadline for public comments on the Keystone XL pipeline that could bring 900,000 barrels of tar sands to American refineries each day. Tar sands are the dirtiest fuel we use, creating 3 times the greenhouse gases as conventional oil, contaminating entire rivers and watersheds from leaking toxic tailings lakes and devastating an area of Canada the size of Florida.
Last August, the State Department approved the permit for the pipeline, but they opened up the process to receive comments from the public. From the perspective of the State Department, this pipeline is in the public interest, bringing in oil and jobs. However, they fail to fully account for the massive impact that tar sands oil has on the climate, the pollution created by refining tar sands into gasoline and the danger the pipeline poses to landowners and communities along the pipeline route.
The good news is that public opposition is rally to stop the pipeline. A week ago, 50 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging the State Department not to rush the permit through. At a public hearing at the State Department on Tuesday, over 80 people showed up to provide comment. Although Brian Duggan, the moderator of the hearing, noted that “the oil industry got up real early this morning, so their names are the first 20 on my list,” he alternated between speakers from the oil industry and groups opposed to the pipeline.
According to Sarah Murphy, who attended the hearing, approximately two-thirds to three quarters of the people attending the hearing opposed the pipeline. “At one point lobbyist from a trucking group testified and in his eyes I saw nothing but giant dollar signs,” she said. “From what I witnessed at the hearing today, its obvious that the dirty energy lobbyists care about only one thing- money.”
Please take five minutes to submit a comment to the State Department, urging them to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. They are required to read every comment, and we need to show them that the American public opposes this project. For ideas on what to include in your comments check out dirtyoilsands.org and Pubic Citizen in Texas, where most of the refineries would be located.