The Huffington Post, January 31, 2014
Obama and Keystone XL: Which Future Will He Choose?
It's up to President Obama now.
On this last day of January, the State Department released its final environmental review on the Keystone XL, a 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada's tar sands fields to refineries along the Gulf Coast.
The terrible effects of this pipeline are clear as day: It will worsen the climate crisis, spill oil (government regulators expect 100 spills over the course of Keystone's lifetime) and put our rivers, pristine landscapes and wildlife -- including endangered birds, beetles and foxes -- directly in harm's way.
The State Department's review now puts the decision squarely in President Obama's hands.
His choice comes down to this: Approve Keystone XL and embrace the climate-killing fossil fuels of the past or reject Keystone and forge a safer, saner energy path forward that won't drive our planet toward catastrophe.
Put another way: Saddle future generations with a world that's hotter, thirstier and more unstable or one that is more secure, healthier and livable for people and wildlife around the globe.
It's time for the president to decide which side he's on -- and whether he really meant what he said about finally having the courage to face the climate crisis head-on.
The undeniable truth is that Keystone XL will make the climate crisis worse by helping ramp up production of tar sands oil -- which produces more than twice the amount of greenhouse gases to extract and refine as other energy sources.
Just months ago, President Obama warned of the dangers of climate change and said Keystone would only be in the national interest if it "does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution."
Keystone XL will vastly increase tar sands development in Alberta, Canada. Acclaimed climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has said Keystone would be "game over" for avoiding catastrophic climate change.
It isn't just the climate crisis that loses with Keystone.
The Center for Biological Diversity conducted a review last year and found at least a dozen threatened and endangered species that would be in harm's way because of the pipeline, including whooping cranes, black-footed ferrets, piping plovers, American burying beetles and greater sage grouse. Read more about those impacts here.
Keystone would spill oil at least 100 times -- but our American landscapes are already beleaguered with pipeline accidents as you can see in this video.
Time and again, Americans have spoken out on this misguided and dangerous pipeline and hundreds have been arrested.
What will it take for the president to finally do the right thing? And how will history judge us if we know the terrible costs of this project and allow it to happen anyway?
Follow Noah Greenwald on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Noah_Ark_757
This article originally appeared here.
|Photo © Paul S. Hamilton||HOME / DONATE NOW / SIGN UP FOR E-NETWORK / CONTACT US / PHOTO USE /|