Should the United States Authorize the Keystone XL Pipeline to Import Tar Sand Oil from Canada?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
[Editor’s Note: On June 9, 2021, TC Energy Corporation terminated the Keystone Energy XL pipeline. Construction was halted on Jan. 20, 2021 after President Biden revoked the Presidential Permit issued by President Trump. TC Energy stated in a June 9 press release, “TC Energy Confirms Termination of Keystone XL Pipeline Project”: “The Company will continue to coordinate with regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory commitments and ensure a safe termination of and exit from the Project.”
As a result of the project’s termination, this question was archived on June 10, 2021 and will no longer be updated.]
The US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Argonne National Laboratory, stated the following on their 2012 Oil Shale & Tar Sands Programmatic EIS website, on the page titled “About Tar Sands” (accessed Apr. 10, 2013):
“Tar sands (also referred to as oil sands) are a combination of clay, sand, water, and bitumen, a heavy black viscous oil. Tar sands can be mined and processed to extract the oil-rich bitumen, which is then refined into oil. The bitumen in tar sands cannot be pumped from the ground in its natural state; instead tar sand deposits are mined, usually using strip mining or open pit techniques, or the oil is extracted by underground heating with additional upgrading…
Tar sands are mined and processed to generate oil similar to oil pumped from conventional oil wells, but extracting oil from tar sands is more complex than conventional oil recovery. Oil sands recovery processes include extraction and separation systems to separate the bitumen from the clay, sand, and water that make up the tar sands. Bitumen also requires additional upgrading before it can be refined. Because it is so viscous (thick), it also requires dilution with lighter hydrocarbons to make it transportable by pipelines…
Much of the world’s oil (more than 2 trillion barrels) is in the form of tar sands, although it is not all recoverable. While tar sands are found in many places worldwide, the largest deposits in the world are found in Canada (Alberta) and Venezuela, and much of the rest is found in various countries in the Middle East. In the United States, tar sands resources are primarily concentrated in Eastern Utah, mostly on public lands. The in-place tar sands oil resources in Utah are estimated at 12 to 19 billion barrels.”Apr. 10, 2013
The US State Department stated the following in its Mar. 1, 2013 publication “Keystone XL Pipeline Evaluation Process Fact Sheet 2012,” available at its Keystone XL Pipeline Project website:
The Council on Foreign Relations stated in its May 7, 2009 report by Michael A. Levi, “The Canadian Oil Sands: Energy Security vs. Climate Change,” available at www.cfr.org:
“The Canadian oil sands [tar sands] are a mixture of sand, clay, and bitumen, a highly dense and viscous tar-like form of petroleum. They are concentrated primarily in the Canadian province of Alberta. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the oil sands contain nearly 1.7 trillion barrels of oil. Proven reserves—those that can be extracted given prevailing and expected economic and operating conditions — were estimated to exceed 170 billion barrels as of January 2008, ranking Canada second only to Saudi Arabia. This is much larger than the resource contained, for example, in the environmentally controversial Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which is estimated to have less than ten billion barrels.”May 7, 2009
Additional ProCon.org Resources About Keystone: 1. Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Review by US State Department with EPA Comments 2. Presidential Statements on Keystone XL Pipeline
The US DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory stated in its Mar. 27, 2009 report, “An Evaluation of the Extraction, Transport and Refining of Imported Crude Oils and the Impact on Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” available at its website:
“Hydrocarbon deposits called bitumen are located in Venezuela and Canada and US… This dense tar-like material is also referred to as oil sands [or tar sands] in Canada and extra – or ultra – heavy crude oil in Venezuela. The bitumen must be mined, separated from the sand and other minerals and either blended with a light oil or upgraded to create a synthetic crude (using heat, pressure, hydrogen and/or catalysts to crack the larger molecules into smaller molecules) so that it can be transported and processed by existing refineries. The GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions associated with the entire process are significantly higher than for extraction of conventional crude oil.”Mar. 27, 2009
Donald Trump, 45th US President, in Oct. 23, 2019 remarks, “Remarks by President Trump at 9th Annual Shale Insight Conference | Pittsburgh, PA,” available at whitehouse.gov, stated:
“In my first week in office, I approved permits for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. And that’s a big thing. That was a very, very unfair situation in the case of Dakota Access. They had built it, except for one small section. And they weren’t being given the permits. They’d spent billions of dollars building it. One small section where it connects, they were not going to get the permits. And I gave them the permits and they got it built, and it’s been operating now and very successfully. And a lot of jobs and a lot of everything else. And a lot of clean environment because that’s what it is.
And with Keystone — same thing. They have everything they need. They need a couple of little extra ones in one or two states, one state in particular, and they’ll start. And it’s a combination of 48,000 jobs on top of everything else.”Oct. 23, 2019
Joe Manchin, US Senator (D-WV), stated the following in a Jan. 6, 2015 press release “Manchin, Hoeven Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline in New Congress,” available at his website:
“I am encouraged that the Keystone XL pipeline project will come to a vote on the Senate floor as one of the first pieces of legislation for the 114th Congress. We have everything to gain by building this pipeline, especially since it would help create thousands of jobs right here at home and limit our dependence on foreign oil. Every state – including West Virginia – would benefit economically from this activity. It is my sincere hope that we can once and for all move forward with this important project.”Jan. 6, 2015
John Hoeven, MBA, US Senator (R-ND), stated the following in a Jan. 6, 2015 press release “Hoeven, Manchin Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline in New Congress,” available at his website:
“Working with Canada we can achieve true North American energy security and also help our allies.
For us to continue to produce more energy and compete in the global market we need more pipelines to move crude at the lowest cost and in the safest and most environmentally friendly way. That means that pipelines like the Keystone XL are in the vital national interest of our country. The project will create thousands of jobs, boost our economy, reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil and make our country more secure.”Jan. 6, 2015
Bernard L. Weinstein, PhD, Associate Director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, wrote in a Jan. 13, 2015, email to ProCon.org:
“The Keystone pipeline project is not about job creation or environmental politics. It’s about building a critical component of North America’s energy infrastructure.
The United States is now the planet’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. Adding Canada and Mexico, North America is a literal energy colossus that will soon outproduce OPEC.
Given our number one status, we must start to engage more fully in the global marketplace, which means not only building Keystone but removing current restrictions on the export of oil and natural gas.”Jan. 13, 2015
TransCanada Corporation stated the following in a Jan. 5, 2015 press release from Russ Girling, MBA, President and CEO, “Russ Girling Statement on Bipartisan Legislation to Approve Construction of Keystone XL,” available at the Keystone XL website:
“Five studies and 17,000 pages of scientific review have led the U.S. State Department to conclude the project can be built and operated with minimal environmental impact. Delaying Keystone XL will continue to increase greenhouse gas emissions and force more oil to be transported by less safe means such as rail…
Like the existing Keystone pipeline that has safely transported more than 700 million barrels of the same oil to U.S. refineries since 2010, the Canadian and American oil transported along Keystone XL will stay in the U.S. and be refined into products we need like gasoline, diesel, pharmaceuticals, medical devices like heart valves, other plastics and countless other items. Those who argue this pipeline is for export are not being factual. Why on earth would Canadian and U.S. companies pay to ship their oil to Gulf Coast refineries, then pay again to ship that same oil overseas, only to pass tankers bringing millions of barrels of oil into America? It just doesn’t make any sense…
Like the 14,000 construction jobs that were created to build the existing Keystone system, there should be no discounting that for the nearly 9,000 men and women who will ply their trades to build this project and more than 42,000 in total across the American supply chain, these jobs are very real and meaningful…
We can’t think of an initiative that better embodies the historically strong Canada/U.S. trading partnership than an $8 billion private sector project – one built with the hands of Americans and Canadians, transporting Canadian and American oil to be used to fuel the everyday lives of the American people. Keystone XL is in the national interest of the United States.”Jan. 5, 2015
The American Petroleum Institute stated the following in a Jan. 6, 2015 press release from Jack Gerard, JD, President and CEO, “API Applauds Swift Senate Action on Keystone XL,” available at api.org:
“Middle class jobs matter and lawmakers are acknowledging that in a big way by kicking off 2015 with KXL.
Forty-two thousand good paying American jobs are at stake and our nation needs to build critical energy infrastructure now for the energy demands of the future.
We are confident a Keystone XL bill will be sent to the president’s desk and we urge him to finally say yes to this job creating project.”Jan. 6, 2015
The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) stated in its Jan. 27, 2012 fact sheet “Myth vs. Fact: Canadian Oil Sands & Keystone XL Pipeline,” available at www.afpm.org:
“Canada is the largest source of oil imports to the United States, providing nearly 2 million barrels of oil per day. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion would allow the United States to increase those imports from its North American ally by more than 500,000 barrels per day – decreasing our nation’s reliance on imported oil from unstable regions of the world.
As President Obama stated March 30, 2011, Canada is ‘a stable and steady and reliable source.’ Canada’s oil sands are important to ensuring secure North American energy supplies today, and production will be even more important in the future as the economy begins to recover and our energy demands increase…
GHG emissions from oil sands production are similar to those of oils produced in Venezuela and Nigeria. If Keystone XL is not approved, GHGs could actually increase through ‘crude shuffling.’…[P]olicies limiting oil sands crude use could cause Canadian producers to ship their product to Asian markets, while the US would have to import more oil in tankers from the Middle East and elsewhere, thus increasing the carbon footprint and creating a crude oil ‘shuffle.’…
The Keystone XL Pipeline and oil sands development will create and sustain thousands of U.S. jobs, and benefit local communities through increased business activity and tax revenues…
Completion of Keystone XL pipeline can make an important contribution to lowering oil costs by increasing the supply of crude oil throughout North America.”Jan. 27, 2012
Robert Bryce, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, stated the following in his Sep. 12, 2011 article “Ten Reasons Why the Keystone Pipeline Will Be Built,” available at the National Review website:
“[O]ver the past two weeks or so [Aug. 20-Sep. 2, 2011], several hundred protesters assembled outside the White House to oppose the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which is designed to transport bitumen produced from oil sands in Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast. During the protest, actor Daryl Hannah, climate scientist James Hansen, and author and activist Bill McKibben were among some 1,200 people who were arrested…
For many years, the US has relied most heavily on crude imports from Mexico and Canada. Over the past ten years, Canadian crude production has risen by 600,000 barrels per day while Mexico’s has fallen by about that same amount. I’d rather have a reliable, long-term supply of crude from Canada than rely on overseas suppliers, whether they are part of OPEC or not. How long can we rely on the Canadian oil sands? Probably for decades. The resources there are estimated at over 100 billion barrels…
Like it or not, oil is here to stay. US oil consumption — as a percentage of its total primary energy consumption — now stands at about 37 percent. That’s the exact same percentage as in 1949… the hard fact is that petroleum is a miraculous substance. Nothing else comes close to oil when it comes to energy density, ease of handling, flexibility, convenience, cost, or scale…
Demonize oil all you want, but coal is the real issue when it comes to carbon-dioxide emissions. Again, look at the numbers: Over the past decade, global coal use increased by 47 percent to about 71.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. During that same time period, oil use increased by 13 percent to about 87.3 million barrels per day. If Hansen, McKibben, and their allies want to protest projects that result in lots of carbon-dioxide emissions, they should be looking for coal mines and coal-fired generators, not oil pipelines.”Sep. 12, 2011
James P. Hoffa, LLB, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, stated the following in his Dec. 10, 2014 article “Keystone Pipeline Would Boost Middle Class,” available at the Detroit News website:
“Jobs might not be in such short supply like they once were in Michigan and elsewhere. But good-paying jobs still are. That’s why the Teamsters support the Keystone XL pipeline project that would allow North America to produce more of the world’s oil supply…
Completing the final segment of the pipeline from Nebraska to the Canadian border would employ upwards of 2,500 Teamsters…
For communities closer to the construction of the pipeline, workers living nearby will add handsomely to their local tax bases. Rent, food and the everyday living expenses will pump dollars into the wallets of local residents…
In total, the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would contribute approximately $3.4 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product. It would support a combined total of 42,100 jobs and approximately $2 billion in earnings nationwide.
As for the project’s environmental concerns, the environmental review has been exhaustive. It will be safer than any other domestic oil pipeline system built under current code, as a result of 59 special conditions the federal pipeline safety regulators developed for the Keystone project, to which pipeline owner TransCanada voluntarily agreed.”Dec. 10, 2014
The US Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy stated the following in a Nov. 13, 2014 press release from Karen Harbert, President and CEO, “U.S. Chamber Statement on Congressional Action to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline,” available at the Energy XXI website:
“As we have for more than six years now, the U.S. Chamber stands strongly with the vast majority of the American people, the business community, and elected officials from both parties at the federal, state, and local levels in support of the Keystone XL pipeline. The administration has played politics with this project for too long at the expense of America’s economy and our relationship with Canada, one of our most important allies in this era of geopolitical instability. It is unfortunate that Congressional action is even needed to move Keystone XL, but with strong bipartisan support in Congress, further delays in approving the pipeline are unacceptable.
Earlier this year, on our Keystone XL pipeline Lost Opportunity Tour of the pipeline route, we encountered numerous business owners, civic leaders, and citizens who will benefit from construction of the pipeline and want Washington to stop standing in the way. As this debate continues, we shouldn’t forget those voices and the economic opportunities that will occur for many communities if Keystone is approved.”Jan. 9, 2015
Gary Doer, Ambassador of Canada to the United States of America, stated the following in his Aug. 29, 2011 letter to the New York Times, “The Keystone XL Pipeline,” available at the New York Times website:
“[C]onstruction of the pipeline is necessary to replace the declining imports of heavy crude from Venezuela and Mexico…[T]he pipeline would substantially reduce American dependency on oil from volatile regions, including the Middle East…
Keystone XL would not appreciably increase global life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions. These findings were reinforced by the final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the State Department on Friday.
There are tremendous economic benefits to the United States from an integrated energy strategy. There are more than 900 American companies exporting equipment and supplies to the oil sands; 70 of them are from New York and New Jersey.
The construction of Keystone XL would create 20,000 direct and 118,000 indirect jobs, providing the kind of infrastructure stimulus that your editorials have promoted.”Aug. 29, 2011
The Calgary Herald published an Aug. 24, 2011 editorial “Pipeline Protesters Ignore Some Inconvenient Truths,” available at the Calgary Herald website, stating:
“[S]punky but naive White House protesters would be doing the planet a bigger service if they were to target the coal-fired generation industry, which has a carbon footprint 60 times larger than Alberta’s oilsands. The oilsands, of course, are an easier target. Coal is widely dispersed across the continent, whereas Alberta’s oilsands are a big, fat bull’s eye…[P]rotesters want the oilsands to be shut down permanently, forever, or else it will, in their eyes, be game over for planet Earth. They ignore that Canada only produces two per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and that Alberta’s oilsands comprise just five per cent of Canada’s overall greenhouse gas emissions or just 0.1 per cent of total world emissions. In 2007, greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands were 37 megatons. Emissions from U.S. coal-fired electricity the same year were 1,987 megatons.” Aug. 24, 2011
Mark J. Perry, PhD, MSA, Professor of Finance and Business Economics at the University of Michigan-Flint, stated the following in his Sep. 18, 2011 article, “Plan Reduces Reliance on Unstable Regimes,” available at the Daytona Beach News-Journal website:
“[T]he Keystone pipeline would create 20,000 American jobs and nearly 120,000 indirect jobs as well as increase revenues for state and local governments along its route.
It would be senseless to forfeit such a huge economic stimulus with guaranteed job creation and an estimated $20 billion in revenue at a time when 25 million Americans are looking for work.
The enormity of the challenge before us is obvious. If America is to have a reliable and affordable supply of oil in the future, we will need Canada’s oil sands.
Since this great resource is nearby and its development will stimulate our economy, provide jobs and strengthen our energy security, there are few more important tasks than ensuring the Keystone pipeline gets built. President Obama should approve its construction, for the good of the country.”Sep. 12, 2011
Patrick Moore, PhD, Chair and Chief Scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. and former International Director of Greenpeace International, stated in his Mar. 1, 2011 FOX Business interview, “Green Peace Founder Backs Oil Exportation From Canada,” available at the Fox Business website:
“Well obviously getting more Canadian oil into the United States helps solve the most important energy security problem in the country, and that is 250 million cars and trucks that need oil every day, and much of that oil is coming in from the Middle East, Nigeria, and Venezuela. Canada is a friendly democracy that has good environmental laws and a very stellar human rights record… and this is no different than any other mining operation…
All of this land [where the oil sand is mined] will be re-vegetated after the mining… the area is completely reclaimed afterwards… they are basically steam cleaning the oil to get the oil off the sand, and then putting the sand back, and then eventually putting vegetation on it…
I cannot imagine a US administration dithering over such an important decision [whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline]…
There’s thousands of miles of pipeline across North America, the reason I support it is because it is the safest way to transport oil.”Mar. 1, 2011
Mary Anastasia O’Grady, MBA, Editorial Board Member of the Wall Street Journal, stated the following in her Sep. 12, 2011 article “Canada’s Oil Sands Are a Job Gusher,” published in the Wall Street Journal:
“Canada has recovered all the jobs it lost in the 2009 recession, and Alberta’s oil sands are no small part of that. The province is on track to become the world’s second-largest oil producer, after Saudi Arabia, within 10 years. Meanwhile Mr. Obama clings to his subsidies for solar panels and his religious faith in green jobs…
TransCanada has been trying since September 2008 to get a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. The Environmental Protection Agency has so far blocked it…
TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, if the U.S. ever issues the permit, will mean $20 billion in investment. The company says the construction phase will require 13,000 direct hires and indirect new jobs could total 118,000 in the U.S…[Delaying] the construction of oil sands export pipelines such as Keystone XL, will likely have a detrimental effect on production, jobs, and government revenues.” Sep. 12, 2011
Center for Biological Diversity, in an article, “Keystone Activists: It’s Time to Make Your Voice Heard,” accessed on Sep. 24, 2020 and available at biologicaldiversity.org, stated:
“No matter how you look at it, Keystone XL would be bad for wildlife, especially endangered species.
Many imperiled species live along the 1,200-mile proposed pipeline’s path and in areas where tar sands oil is produced. If the pipeline is built, rare wildlife will be hurt and killed…
Our analysis finds that at least 12 threatened and endangered species in four states would be put in harm’s way by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. They include whooping cranes, interior least terns, American burying beetles, northern swift foxes, piping plovers, pallid sturgeons and black-footed ferrets.
Threats from this project include habitat destruction from the massive ground disturbance this pipeline would cause, bird deaths from power-line collisions and the potentially catastrophic impacts of pipeline spills.”Sep. 24, 2020
Bernie Sanders, US Senator (I-VT), stated the following on Nov. 18, 2014 on the floor of the senate during debate over Senate Bill 2280, “A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline,” available at the Congress.gov website:
“I rise in very strong opposition to the legislation on the floor and to the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline…
First and foremost, at a time when the scientific community is virtually unanimous in telling us that climate change is real, that it is caused by human activity and carbon emissions, that it is already causing devastating problems not only in the United States but all over the world in terms of drought, forest fires, flooding, extreme weather disturbances, and rising sea levels, at this moment when the scientific community is so clear about the dangers inherent upon a further dependence on fossil fuels, it is absolutely imperative for the future wellbeing of this country that we listen to the scientists and we begin the path forward to break our dependency on fossil fuel, not accelerate more drilling for the dirtiest oil on the planet…
The Keystone XL Pipeline would move us exactly in the wrong direction. More dependence not only on fossil fuels but on some of the dirtiest fossil fuels imaginable – the dirtiest fossil fuels imaginable. That is crazy. To reject what the scientific community is telling us and then to add insult to injury by going forward aggressively and accelerating the drilling of dirty oil is something that is almost beyond comprehension…
Furthermore, when people talk about this being a jobs program, let’s understand that there is no debate that what we are talking about are less than 50 permanent jobs – less than 50 permanent jobs. So to suggest this is some kind of big jobs program is nothing more than a cruel hoax and a misleading hoax to workers in this country who need decent-paying jobs.”Nov. 18, 2014
Michael E. Mann, PhD, Professor in the Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, stated the following in his May 6, 2014 article “It’s Game Over for the Keystone Pipeline,” available at the Guardian website:
“One month ago, more than 100 North American climate scientists and I warned President Obama and Secretary Kerry that they should reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline – indeed, that it would greaten the risk of dangerous and potentially irreversible climate changes…
So why on earth is a group of US Senators – mostly Republicans, but a handful of Democrats, too – still trying to circumvent the approval process and double down on climate change generating fossil fuels?…
To those elected officials who believe we should build the Keystone XL pipeline, I ask: Are you committed to keeping global warming below dangerous levels? If so, are you advocating for a moratorium on all other sources of fossil fuel energy? Are you ready for no more coal mining, no more natural gas extraction and no more oil drilling? Because that is what would likely be required if were to avoid truly dangerous changes to our climate and still approve the pipeline…[B]uilding the Keystone XL pipeline simply makes no sense. It represents an investment in infrastructure that will lock in decades of extraction of dirty, expensive fossil fuels at a time when we need to be rapidly pivoting away from a fossil fuel-driven energy economy.” May 6, 2014
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) stated in its Mar. 2011 publication, “Say No to Tar Sands Pipeline: Proposed Keystone XL Project Would Deliver Dirty Fuel at a High Cost,” available at www.nrdc.org:
“The Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has proposed a tar sands pipeline that could bring as much as 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) of costly and polluting fuel to the U.S. Gulf Coast. This pipeline, called Keystone XL, will lock the United States into a dependence on hard-to-extract oil and generate a massive expansion of the destructive tar sands oil operations in Canada. In addition to the damage that would be caused by the increased tar sands extraction, the pipeline threatens to pollute freshwater supplies in America’s agricultural heartland and increase emissions in already-polluted communities of the Gulf Coast…
The United States should instead implement a comprehensive oil savings plan and reduce oil consumption by increasing fuel efficiency standards, hybrid cars, renewable energy, environmentally sustainable biofuels, and smart growth to meet our transportation needs…
The Alberta tar sands are found under a region of Boreal forest and wetlands similar in size to Florida. The bitumen—or the unrefined product excavated from the tar sands—must either be strip-mined or melted and pumped up after the ground has been heated with steam for several months. Both forms of tar sands extraction fragment and destroy the Boreal forest, killing nesting migratory birds and many other species. Toxic waste from the mining operations is stored in vast man-made dams—called tailings ponds—that already cover sixty-five square miles…
Tar sands oil threatens our air, water, land, and economy, and will increase already dangerously high greenhouse gas emissions and demand for natural gas. Tar sands oil has no place in the clean energy economy.”Mar. 2011
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) stated the following in a Jan. 6, 2015 press release from Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, “LCV on Efforts by the New Congress to Force Approval of the Dangerous Keystone XL Pipeline,” available at lcv.org:
“President Obama continues to show real climate leadership by pledging to veto attempts by Congress to circumvent the process and we’re more confident than ever that he will reject this dirty, dangerous pipeline once and for all. It’s unfortunate that Republican leaders are starting the new Congress with the same old dangerous attempts to force approval of Keystone XL instead of focusing on measures to actually create jobs and transition to a clean energy economy. This is a chance for members of Congress to decide whether they’ll protect our planet for future generations or side with polluters who want to double down on the dirtiest oil on the planet.”Jan. 6, 2015
Barbara Boxer, US Senator (D-CA), stated the following on Nov. 18, 2014 on the floor of the senate during debate over Senate Bill 2280, “A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline,” available at Congress.gov:
“I am going to do everything in my power to make the case that building the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is going to make life worse for the people we represent and those generations to follow…
This isn’t an ordinary pipeline. This pipeline is carrying tar sands oil, which is, in fact, the most polluting kind of oil… Conventional crude oil is different than the tar sands. The tar sands have 11 times more sulfur and nickel, 6 times more nitrogen, and 5 times more lead…
Now these dangerous pollutants I cited and these metals can be very harmful to human health. Sulfur dioxide penetrates deeply into sensitive parts of the lungs and it causes respiratory diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis…
We are talking about huge quantities coming through this pipeline—830,000 barrels of filthy tar sands oil coming across the Canadian border heading down to our gulf coast region every single day…
According to the EPA, tar sands oil creates especially difficult challenges to clean up when the pipelines rupture because it is so heavy it sinks to the bottom of the water. You only have to look at the spill in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010 which they still haven’t cleaned up…
Why would you want to bring this dirty, polluted tar sands oil that you cannot clean up into our country if practically all of it is going to be exported? And we will have to bear the burdens of the refining, the filth in the air, the petcoke in our cities, as we see the products being exported to other countries….
All you have to look to is the evidence to see that ‘XL’ stands for ‘extra lethal’ and misery follows the tar sands.”Nov. 18, 2014
James E. Hansen, PhD, Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, stated the following in his June 4, 2011 article, “Silence Is Deadly: I’m Speaking Out Against Canada-US Tar Sands Pipeline,” available at the Common Dreams website:
“The environmental impacts of tar sands development include: irreversible effects on biodiversity and the natural environment, reduced water quality, destruction of fragile pristine Boreal Forest and associated wetlands, aquatic and watershed mismanagement, habitat fragmentation, habitat loss, disruption to life cycles of endemic wildlife particularly bird and Caribou migration, fish deformities and negative impacts on the human health in downstream communities…
An overwhelming objection is that exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts. The tar sands are estimated (e.g., see IPCC Fourth Assessment Report) to contain at least 400 GtC (equivalent to about 200 ppm CO2). Easily available reserves of conventional oil and gas are enough to take atmospheric CO2 well above 400 ppm, which is unsafe for life on earth. However, if emissions from coal are phased out over the next few decades and if unconventional fossil fuels including tar sands are left in the ground, it is conceivable to stabilize earth’s climate.”June 4, 2011
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the New York State Nurses Association stated the following in a July 24, 2014 press release “Unions Representing Half a Million Nurses & Healthcare Workers Declare Opposition to Keystone XL Pipeline, Vow to Mobilize Thousands of Members for UN Climate March,” available at 1199SEIU website:
“We are half a million nurses and healthcare workers and we declare our strong support for policies that address the dangers of climate change and prioritize public health, green jobs and renewable energy.
We oppose the Keystone XL pipeline as a hazard to people’s health and a threat to the survival of millions in our country and around the globe. Our opposition to the pipeline stems from our commitment to our patients and our firsthand experience as medical professionals treating the victims of super storms and diseases related to the pollution of our air and water…
The construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is being promoted by multinational corporations that are not necessarily motivated by our national interest, would be a major, irreversible step in the wrong direction for the health of our nation and our world. The pipeline would lock us into even more reliance on and use of dirty fuel, and the overwhelming evidence shows it would push us inexorably closer towards catastrophe.”July 24, 2014
Norman Seip, Ret. US Air Force Lieutenant General, stated the following in a Jan. 18, 2012 article “For National Security, Keystone Is a Dud,” available at thehill.com:
“With or without Keystone XL, we will remain dependent on oil from the Middle East. We will still be held hostage to oil-producing countries with unfriendly governments, like Iran. We will still be subject to the same high gas and oil prices set by a global marketplace, not by Canada or any other single country.
And in the end, we will still be forced to send our soldiers, sailors, airmen and women and marines – and billions of our tax dollars – to faraway shores in order to protect our oil interests…
The longer we stay focused on finding ways to keep ourselves shackled to oil and other fossil fuels, the longer we postpone our opportunity to develop new, renewable sources of energy that actually will improve our energy and national security…
The Keystone XL pipeline… will simply be one more way to keep us addicted to oil, keep us vulnerable to international crises and keep our national security at risk.”Jan. 18, 2012
Nine former Nobel Peace Laureates, including the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Rigoberta Menchú Tum, stated the following in a Sep. 7, 2011 letter to President Obama, available at the Nobel Women’s Initiative website:
“We—a group of Nobel Peace Laureates—are writing today to ask you to do the right thing for our environment and reject the proposal to build the Keystone XL, a 1700-mile pipeline that would stretch from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast…[S]trip-mining and drilling tar sands from under Alberta’s Boreal forests and then transporting thousands of barrels of oil a day from Canada through to Texas will not only hurt people in the US—but will also endanger the entire planet. After the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, the full development of the Alberta tar sands will create the world’s second largest potential source of global warming gases…
Your rejection of the pipeline provides a tremendous opportunity to begin transition away from our dependence on oil, coal and gas and instead increase investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency.
We urge you to say ‘no’ to the plan proposed by the Canadian-based company TransCanada to build the Keystone XL, and to turn your attention back to supporting renewable sources of energy and clean transportation solutions.”September 7, 2011
Al Gore, Jr., Chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection and former Vice President of the United States, wrote in his Aug. 31, 2011 blog entry “The Dirtiest Fuel on the Planet,” available at his blog:
“The leaders of the top environmental groups in the country, the Republican Governor of Nebraska, and millions of people around the country—including hundreds of people who have bravely participated in civil disobedience at the White House—all agree on one thing: President Obama should block a planned pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.
The tar sands are the dirtiest source of fuel on the planet. As I wrote in Our Choice two years ago, gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. This pipeline would be an enormous mistake. The answer to our climate, energy and economic challenges does not lie in burning more dirty fossil fuels —instead, we must continue to press for much more rapid development of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies and cuts in the pollution that causes global warming.”Aug. 31, 2011
The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) stated the following in its publication “Tar Sands and Indigenous Rights,” available at its website (accessed Jan. 9, 2015):
“Indigenous peoples (known as First Nations) in Canada are taking the lead to stop the largest industrial project on Mother Earth: the Tar Sands Gigaproject. Northern Alberta is ground zero with over 20 corporations operating in the tar sands sacrifice zone, with expanded developments being planned. The cultural heritage, land, ecosystems and human health of First Nation communities… are being sacrificed for oil money in what has been termed a ‘slow industrial genocide’. Infrastructure projects linked to the tar sands expansion such as… the Keystone XL pipeline, threaten First Nation communities in British Columbia, Canada and American Indian communities throughout the United States.
Today, the tar sands have become a topic of national and international discussion as stories of cancer epidemics in the community of Fort Chipewyan, massive wildlife losses related to toxic contamination, environmental degradation and increased vocal resistance from impacted communities have shattered the ‘everything is fine’ myth propagated by the Canadian and Alberta governments… Already the Athabasca delta has been completely altered from a pristine boreal forest, clean rivers and lakes to a devastated ecosystem of deforestation, open pit mines and watershed where fish regularly exhibit tumors and birds landing on contaminated tailings ponds die instantly…[We] demand the national and international financial and banking institutions immediately Divest from the tar sands expansion and operations.” Jan. 9, 2015
Michael E. Kraft, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public and Environmental Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, stated in his Sep. 18, 2011 article, “Pipeline Could Lead to Economic Disaster,” available at the Daytona Beach News-Journal website:
“While importing oil from Canada is arguably better than getting it from the Middle East, there are two major problems with this option…[S]uch pipelines have a heightened risk of oil spills due to the corrosive nature of tar-sands oil. The pipeline also would cross the shallow Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska, one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world and vital for the region’s $20 billion agricultural operations…
Ultimately, President Obama must make a decision, probably by late this year, on whether or not to permit the pipeline project to go forward. He should oppose it.”Sep. 18, 2011
The New York Times published its Aug. 21, 2011 editorial “Tar Sands and the Carbon Numbers,” available at the New York Times website, stating:
“This page opposes the building of a 1,700-mile pipeline called the Keystone XL, which would carry diluted bitumen — an acidic crude oil — from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast. We have two main concerns: the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and the fact that the extraction of petroleum from the tar sands creates far more greenhouse emissions than conventional production does…
It projects that Canada will double its current tar sands production over the next decade to more than 1.8 million barrels a day. That rate will mean cutting down some 740,000 acres of boreal forest — a natural carbon reservoir…
Canada’s government is committed to the tar sands business… The United States can’t do much about that, but it can stop the Keystone XL pipeline.”Aug. 21, 2011