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Bipartisan Senators Critique Clinton on Oil Pipeline
WASHINGTON - October 22 - A bipartisan group of U.S. senators pushed back this week against remarks Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made October 15 at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club indicating that she is “inclined” to approve the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.
Senators Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) of Nebraska, one of the states in the pipeline’s path, were joined by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in urging Sec. Clinton to let her agency complete its legally mandated review of the dangers the pipeline poses before rushing to conclusions about the outcome. In an interview Thursday, Sen. Johanns warned that Sec. Clinton is exposing the State Department to lawsuits by prematurely weighing in.
“Secretary Clinton is putting the legitimacy of her agency’s review process in doubt by making leading remarks,” said Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner for Friends of the Earth.
“She should ensure that her agency completes a rigorous and full analysis of how this pipeline could endanger people and the environment.”
“This pipeline would be an environmental disaster. In addition to threatening air quality, water resources, and farmland in the Midwest, the Keystone XL pipeline would double our country’s dependence on the dirtiest oil available,” added Moore. “Compared to conventional oil, tar sands oil emits more climate-warming emissions and toxic air pollutants when produced and refined, making it worse for the climate and for public health.”
The new climate-warming emissions that the Keystone XL pipeline would cause are estimated to be 38 million tons per year, the equivalent of adding more than six million cars to U.S. roads.
Moore emphasized that, “It’s in our national interest to implement job-creating clean energy solutions and reduce demand, not replace dirty oil with even dirtier tar sands oil and further exacerbate the climate disruption that threatens to torpedo our economy.”
The Keystone XL pipeline would be constructed by Canadian oil and gas giant TransCanada. If approved by the Obama administration, it would bring high-carbon, dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada through the plains states of the U.S. to Gulf Coast refineries near Houston at a rate of 900,000 barrels per day.
The pipeline has been opposed by environmental, agricultural, and tribal organizations, and more than 50 members of Congress have voiced strong concerns. The Ogallala Aquifer, a drinking water source for Nebraskans, would be crossed and endangered by the pipeline.
Sen. Nelson’s letter to Sec. Clinton is available here: http://bennelson.senate.gov/press/press_releases/102110-02.cfm
Sen. Johanns’s letter to Sec. Clinton is available here: http://johanns.senate.gov/public/?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=4b9b8c14-c37d-47ef-9a39-532185e5cfdb&ContentType_id=bc82adff-27b4-4832-8fd6-aecbe3e7d8e3
More information about the Keystone XL pipeline is available here: http://www.foe.org/keystone-xl-pipeline