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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 09:46 PM

 

Environmental Coalition Slams Obama's Expediting of Southern Segment of Keystone XL



For Immediate Release, March 21, 2012

Contacts: Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, ngreenwald@biologicaldiversity.org or (503) 484-7495
Kelly Trout, Friends of the Earth, ktrout@foe.org or (202) 222-0722
Elijah Zarlin, CREDO Action, ezarlin@credomobile.com or (415) 369 2014

Coalition Slams Obama's Expediting of Southern Segment of Keystone XL
Environmental, Progressive Groups Condemn Trumpeting of
Tar Sands Pipeline That Will Worsen Climate Crisis


CUSHING, Okla. — President Barack Obama’s touting today of an expedited review for the southern leg of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline comes despite widespread public opposition to the project due to the severe risks it poses to our climate, air, water and wildlife, as well as indigenous and landowner rights. Specifically, the administration today announced — ahead of the president’s visit to a TransCanada pipe yard near Cushing, Okla. — that it will issue a memorandum to expedite federal environmental review for the southern portion. As the key link of the Keystone XL pipeline for the tar sands industry, the southern segment would transport the world’s dirtiest oil — tar sands oil — from the Midwest to Gulf Coast refineries, with much of it destined for global export. .

“In expediting the southern leg of Keystone XL, President Obama has gone 180 degrees in the wrong direction in less than 180 days,” said Kim Huynh, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “It’s inexcusable that the administration is cutting corners to support building this dirty tar sands oil pipeline in parts. The president cannot fulfill his promise to protect the climate and transition us to 21st century clean energy while bending over backward to help Big Oil companies tap the continent’s biggest carbon bomb. The southern segment would threaten our heartland with spills that pollute our air and water and hurt local economies.”

According to TransCanada, the southern leg will be used for exporting diluted bitumen — tar sands oil — after TransCanada tries again for a presidential permit to build other legs of Keystone XL that connect to the Alberta tar sands.

“The Gulf Coast leg would add to the fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when we critically need to transition away from fossil fuels in order to avoid climate catastrophe,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Just like Keystone I, the Gulf Coast leg of Keystone XL will spill, polluting land and water and ruining important habitat for endangered species like the whooping crane, piping plover, American burying beetle, interior least tern and Arkansas River shiner.”

Keystone 1, an existing pipeline in the same system in which Keystone XL would be built, has already leaked 14 times since it started operating in June 2010, including one spill that dumped 21,000 gallons of oil. Another tar sands pipeline spilled more than 1 million gallons of tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River. The Cushing-to-the-Gulf southern leg of Keystone XL would almost certainly spill, polluting and ruining important habitat for a number of federally protected endangered species and hindering their recovery.

“The president’s support for this pipeline is troubling,” said Greenwald. “Keystone XL may be a boon to Big Oil companies in the exporting business, but their profits will come at a stiff price for the environment.”

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have expressed unprecedented opposition to Keystone XL, making it the biggest environmental test for the administration ahead of the 2012 elections. Last fall, more than 12,000 people surrounded the White House, and 1,253 people were arrested in front of it while actively opposing the pipeline. However, TransCanada, the Canadian company behind the pipeline vowed to reapply for a permit before the president today pledged to expedite the environmental review process.

“In expediting the southern portion of Keystone XL, President Obama is trying to have it both ways,” said Becky Bond, political director at CREDO Action. “It is deeply disappointing that he can't even hold to the minimum standard for a full environmental review that he invoked when he rejected the full pipeline in January. Promoting the export portion of this pipeline will lead to higher gas prices in the United States and to the worst climate impacts of the pipeline. The president needs to prove that his initial rejection of Keystone XL wasn't simply a ploy to placate the environmental voters who dared to hold him to his own rhetoric about the need for real leadership on climate and our fossil fuel dependence.”

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http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2012/keystone-xl-pipeline-03-21-2012.html


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Obama Endorses KXL Pipeline, Native Americans Forced to Protest from 'Cage'
Obama: indefinite 'development of oil and gas infrastructure'
by Common Dreams staff
March 22, 2012


Today, President Obama has endorsed a southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. "As long as I'm president, I'm going to keep encouraging the development of oil and gas infrastructure," Obama said in a speech in Cushing, Okla.

As the president spoke, Native American pipeline protesters were 'caged' miles away from the event.

Native American activists in Oklahoma have expressed outrage at the proposal of the pipeline as it will "desecrate known sacred sites and artifacts" on its path to refineries in Texas, in addition to the evident environmental degradation involved.

Local authorities have forced the activists to hold their protest in a cage erected in Memorial Park far away from the speech. "The protestors were stunned that their community, so long mistreated, would be insulted in such an open manner instead of being given the same freedom of speech expected by all Americans simply for taking a stance consistent with their values," reports the Global Justice Ecology Project.

Read the full article at:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/03/22-3


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2012

Native Americans Protest Keystone XL From A Cage
Activists compelled to stay in enclosure miles from President’s pro-oil event



OKLAHOMA - March 22 - Native American’s gathering in Cushing, OK for a planned Thursday protest of President Obama’s anticipated words of praise for the Keystone XL pipeline will be forced by local authorities to hold their event in a cage erected in Memorial Park. The protestors were stunned that their community, so long mistreated, would be insulted in such an open manner instead of being given the same freedom of speech expected by all Americans simply for taking a stance consistent with their values.

“A lot of tribal councils and Indian businesses struggle to find a balance between economic resources and our inherited responsibilities for the earth,” said Indian actor and activist Richard Ray Whitman in a statement. “How will the decisions we make now effect coming generations?”

“President Obama is an adopted member of the Crow Tribe, so his fast-tracking a project that will desecrate known sacred sites and artifacts is a real betrayal and disappointment for his Native relatives everywhere,” said Marty Cobenais of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Tar sands is devastating First Nations communities in Canada already and now they want to bring that environmental, health, and social devastation to US tribes.”

The President visited Cushing to stand with executives from TransCanada and throw his support behind a plan to build the southern half of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to move tar sands bitumen and crude oil from Cushing to the Gulf Coast refineries in Texas.

A major concern for Native Americans in Oklahoma, according to spokespeople at the event, is that Keystone XL and the Canadian tar sands mines that would supply it ignore impacts to indigenous communities and their sacred spaces.

“Natives in Canada live downstream from toxic tar sands mines,” said Earl Hatley, “and they are experiencing spikes in colon, liver, blood and rare bile-duct cancers which the Canadian government and oil companies simply ignore. And now they want to pipe these tar sands through the heart of Indian country, bulldozing grave sites and ripping out our heritage.”

The group points to a survey done by the Oklahoma Archeological Survey which found 88 archaeological sites and 34 historic structures that were threatened by Keystone XL. TransCanada was asked to reroute around only a small portion of these, leaving 71 archaeological sites and 22 historic structures at risk. The group says they have asked for a list of these sites and to oversee operations that might threaten sacred burial grounds, but neither request has been honored.

Beyond the threat to their own cultural heritage, the group voiced opposition to the pipeline’s environmental impacts.

“The Ogallala Aquifer is not the only source of water in the plains,” said RoseMary Crawford, Project Manager of the Center for Energy Matters. “Tar sands pipelines have a terrible safety record and leaks are inevitable.”

“We can’t stop global warming with more fossil fuel pipelines,” added Crawford. “The people who voted for this President did so believing he would help us address the global environmental catastrophe that our pollution is creating. He said he would free us from ‘the tyranny of oil.’ Today that campaign promise is being trampled to boost the President’s poll numbers.”

###

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2012/03/22-0


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Drillers, environmentalists not buying Obama's energy pitch
By NBC News, msnbc.com staff and news services
March 22, 2012


CUSHING, Okla. -- Touting an "all-of-the-above" energy policy, President Barack Obama traveled to this oil town on Thursday to show his support for the southern leg of the controversial Keystone oil pipeline proposed from Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

"I am directing my administration to cut through red tape, break through bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority," he said with dozens of pipes stacked up behind him at a yard used by TransCanada, the company proposing the Keystone pipeline.

But neither the oil industry, which insists Obama could send stronger market signals to lower prices at the pump, nor environmentalists, who cite the climate impact of fossil fuels, were on board.

Obama in his speech noted that domestic production has risen during his term. "America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years," he said. "Over the last three years, I've directed my administration to open up millions of acres for oil and gas exploration across 23 different states. We're opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We've quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high."


President Barack Obama speaks at the TransCanada Stillwater pipe yard in Cushing, Okla., on Thursday.

Read the full article at:

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/22/10811855-drillers-environmentalists-not-buying-obamas-energy-pitch

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Reply Environmental Coalition Slams Obama's Expediting of Southern Segment of Keystone XL (Original post)
Better Believe It Mar 2012 OP
limpyhobbler Mar 2012 #1
Better Believe It Mar 2012 #2
SidDithers Mar 2012 #3
Autumn Mar 2012 #4
Better Believe It Mar 2012 #5

Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 10:48 PM

1. very disappointing

In this move, the President betrays his most loyal supporters. Sorry if that hurts anyone's feelings, but I find this disgusting. It's not like he needs to do this to win the election either. This is just part of his "all of the above" energy plan.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 12:24 PM

2. Audubon Society President says Keystone Decision Wrong for the Environment

 



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2012
Audubon President says Keystone Decision Wrong for the Environment



NEW YORK - March 22 - "The decision to expedite half of the Keystone pipeline is not half wrong, it is all wrong. And worse, it's all about politics," said David Yarnold, President & CEO of the National Audubon Society. "Experts have proven this pipeline may save a penny on a gallon of gas--while creating huge risks for communities and wildlife along its path. Think that's not a real hazard? Ask the people of Kalamazoo or the visitors to Yellowstone last year -- where the impact of spills have done enormous damage."

“The risk of major oil spills and chronic contamination of drinking water along this route is a real danger to both people and wildlife. And the claim that this pipeline will somehow bring relief at the pump just isn't backed up by economic facts. This is a political move designed to address the price of gasoline -- which is really caused by increasing global demand and market speculators."

“We urge President Obama to move forward with greater efforts to promote all clean energy alternatives rather than expanding use of the fossil fuels that have led to harmful carbon pollution and climate disruption. This is pretty simple: this decision is threatening public health and it represents a threat to birds, their habitats, and global biodiversity.”
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Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world.

http://www.audubon.org/newsroom/press-releases/2012/audubon-president-says-keystone-decision-wrong-environment

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 12:26 PM

3. Keep trying...nt

Sid

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 01:06 PM

4. The pipeline is the wrong thing to do,

very disappointing.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 06:34 PM

5. Public Citizen: President Obama Sacrifices Gas Policy for Gas Politics on Keystone XL Pipeline

 



NEWS RELEASE
March 22, 2012
President Obama Sacrifices Gas Policy for Gas Politics on Keystone XL Pipeline
Statement of Trevor Lovell, Environmental Program Coordinator, Public Citizen’s Texas Office


It is unfortunate that President Barack Obama has decided to ignore news stories in Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and Financial Post, among others, explaining in simple terms how the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline will raise gas prices for American consumers.

Public Citizen has long warned about Keystone’s health and safety risks, the environmental devastation associated with tar sands mining and its disproportionate impact on global climate change, and the unconscionable contributions to local air pollution in Port Arthur, Texas. Port Arthur is one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Environmental Justice Showcase Communities” due to a concentration of environmental health risks that disproportionally burden minority communities.

But Keystone XL also poses another risk – a risk to U.S. consumers and the fragile economic recovery. Analysts and economists agree that building the southern leg of this pipeline will alleviate a glut of oil in Cushing, Okla., and allow more oil products to be exported to other countries, thereby reducing domestic supply and raising gas prices.

The southern leg of this pipeline does not bring oil into the country (a goal our organization does not endorse), but does create a clear path to get oil out to export markets. Since refined oil products are now the largest export commodity in the U.S., it is obvious that pushing more oil to the Gulf Coast will result in more export activity and less supply for Americans.

Today, Public Citizen renews its call for the president and relevant agencies to treat this pipeline as a tar sands pipeline. As construction has not yet begun, it would be imprudent to build the pipeline when we anticipate new findings from a congressionally mandated study on the unique dangers of tar sands pipelines, which may inform new regulations for this industry.

Texas may be an oil and gas state, but the health and safety of our citizens is no less important than it is anywhere else. Our water resources are threatened now more than ever, and this pipeline would cross the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in East Texas, which serves 60 counties and as many as 12 million people. When the presidential permit was denied earlier this year, the inadequate study of threats to Nebraskan water resources was cited as a central concern. Apparently water resources in Texas do not require the same kind of thorough review. Texans deserve protection from our elected and appointed leaders, and today President Obama has shown he is ready to sacrifice that protection for election-year politics.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.

http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=3559

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