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New York Times Urges Obama to Say 'No' to Keystone XL

NYT: "A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that can only add to the problem"

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Joining the chorus of environmental campaigners, scientists and concerned citizens opposed to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project, the New York Times published an editorial Monday calling on the President to say "No" in his approval of the pipeline.

Protesters packed the national mall during the Forward on Climate rally on February 17, 2013. (Photo: Joshua Lopez / Project Survival Media) "He should say no, and for one overriding reason," they argue. "A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem."

Telling Obama to focus on the "long-term" consequences of the pipeline, the op-ed cites "the cumulative year-after-year effect of steadily increasing production from a deposit that is estimated to hold 170 billion barrels of oil that can be recovered with today’s technology and may hold 10 times that amount altogether."

"Given its carbon content, tar sands oil should be among the first fossil fuels we decide to leave alone," they add. 

Coming a little more than a week after the release of the State Department's draft supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS), the Times counters the report's "deeply flawed" argument that development of the tar sands in Alberta would not be significantly impacted by the pipeline because, with or without, the tar sands reserves will be extracted and exported by other means. The Times writes:

Saying no to the pipeline will not stop Canada from developing the tar sands, but it will force the construction of new pipelines through Canada itself. And that will require Canadians to play a larger role in deciding whether a massive expansion of tar sands development is prudent. At the very least, saying no to the Keystone XL will slow down plans to triple tar sands production from just under two million barrels a day now to six million barrels a day by 2030.

You can read the full text of the editorial, "When to Say No," here. 

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