The Keystone XL is merely on hold, and oil from all sorts of other “dirty” situations continues to flow into our gas tanks. The next time around, environmentalists should resist fighting the symbolic pipeline to concentrate on fighting the larger issue — reducing emissions and making tar-sands oils prices reflect their environmental toll. We need to stop fighting oil development project by project — and instead focus on passing a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (which could make the Keystone XL economically unviable), and on reducing oil consumption overall.
For more on this story, visit: The Keystone Pipeline Is No Victory for Environmentalism – Lisa Margonelli – Business – The Atlantic.
350 Connecticut Applauds President Obama’s Rejection of the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
On Wednesday the Obama Administration announced that it would reject the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline proposed by oil giant TransCanada. The decision was made just weeks before the deadline imposed by a bill passed late last year. According to a statement released by the State Department, “On December 23, 2011, the Congress passed the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 (“the Act”). The Act provides 60 days for the President to determine whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest–which is insufficient for such a determination.”
While we applaud the President’s decision, we realize that the fight against destructive tar sands extraction is far from over. Although this announcement is a big step forward, we fully expect TransCanada and their allies in Congress to attempt to resurrect this project. As such, we will continue to work to make sure the President follows through on his commitment to evaluate new pipeline proposals on their environmental and social impacts. We believe a fair assessment of impacts will lead him to reject any new tar sands pipeline. Working with grassroots groups from around the U.S. and Canada, we will be ready to do what it takes to see that tar sands extraction is rejected once-and-for-all.
We are also concerned with a section of the President’s statement that says, “In the months ahead, we will continue to look for new ways to partner with the oil and gas industry to increase our energy security…” The President has made the right decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline but continuing oil and gas development at a time when we need to be investing in clean and renewable sources of energy is a bad idea. We will use the victory against the tar sands pipeline to push for the development of renewable energy projects that will transition the United States away from fossil fuels.
Specifically, we are pushing for the timely implementation of Connecticut’s climate plan. The 2005 Climate Change Action Plan laid out 55 recommendations for greenhouse gas reduction strategies, some of which our state has since implemented successfully. The 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act upped the ante: it requires Connecticut to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80% below 2001 levels by 2050. This is an ambitious goal, but one we can and must achieve. 350 Connecticut is poised to help our state lead America toward a clean and just energy future.
The Keystone XL pipeline, proposed by Canadian oil giant TransCanada, would carry crude oil extracted from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, through the U.S. heartland to refineries in Texas. Although originally proposed in 2008, the pipeline has faced increasing opposition in recent months–in late August and early September of last year, 1,252 people were arrested over a two-week period protesting the pipeline in front of the White House. In November, close to 12,000 people encircled the White House in a symbolic gesture they hoped would draw attention to a project they see as an environmental nightmare. Included in both these protests were over 120 Connecticut residents who traveled to D.C. to participate.
Responding to pressure from citizen action, Mr. Obama announced in mid-November that he would send the proposal back for further review, thereby delaying the decision by at least a year. This announcement was seen by many as a way for the president to avoid the issue during what might be a tough reelection campaign. Although Mr. Obama initially promised to veto any bill that would force an expedited decision, pressure from the Republicans continued to build. In late December, Mr. Obama signed into law a two month extension of the payroll tax credit. Attached to that legislation was a rider that forced a decision on the pipeline within 60 days of the bill’s signing.
– Colin Bennett