The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

Senate Republicans Attempt End Run Around Obama's Rejection of Keystone XL

Controversial Pipeline Would Worsen Climate Change, Hurt Endangered Species


Less than two weeks after President Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, Republicans in the U.S. Senate today introduced a bill that would allow Congress to approve the controversial project. The pipeline would transport dirty tar-sands oil from Canada to Texas, perpetuate the global climate crisis, put wildlife and wild landscapes at risk of oil spills and create additional dependence on tar sands, one of the most polluting types of fossil fuel.

"President Obama made the right decision when he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline," said Noah Greenwald at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Republicans in Congress need to stop wasting precious time doing the bidding of Big Oil and address the climate crisis and create long-term jobs in a new, clean energy economy."

Keystone XL would transport dirty tar-sands oil 1,700 miles across six states and hundreds of water bodies, posing an unacceptable risk of spill. An existing pipeline called Keystone 1 has already leaked 14 times since it started operating in June 2010, including one spill that dumped 21,000 gallons of tar-sands crude. The pipeline would directly threaten at least 20 imperiled species, including whooping cranes.

Extraction and refinement of tar-sands oil produces two to three times more greenhouse gases per barrel than conventional oil and represents a massive new source of fossil fuels that leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has called "game over" for our ability to avoid a climate catastrophe. Strip mining of oil from Alberta's tar sands is also destroying tens of thousands of acres of boreal forest and polluting hundreds of millions of gallons of water from the Athabasca River, in the process creating toxic ponds so large they can be seen from space.

"Keystone XL would be an environmental disaster and create few permanent jobs in the process," Greenwald said. "Instead much of the oil will be exported -- even as the pipeline deepens our dependence on the fossil fuels that are polluting our air, land and water and driving the global climate crisis."

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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