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For Immediate Release, April 18, 2013

Contact: Peter Galvin, (520) 907-1533

Hundreds Rally Against Keystone XL Pipeline Outside Nebraska Public Hearing

Protestors Include Center for Biological Diversity's Frostpaw the Polar Bear

GRAND ISLAND, Neb.— The Center for Biological Diversity joined hundreds of people in Grand Island, Neb., today in speaking out against the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline. The U.S. State Department, now considering a permit to build the oil pipeline, is holding its one and only hearing on the project in Nebraska today.

“Keystone XL is an environmental disaster waiting to happen,” said Peter Galvin, the Center’s conservation director, who is attending the Nebraska hearing and protests along with Frostpaw, the Center’s polar bear mascot. “Oil spills, environmental damage, wildlife at risk and a doubling-down on the fossil fuels that drive the climate crisis — there’s just no way Keystone XL is in the national interest.”

Earlier this week the Center launched a new pledge for its members and activists to stand against Keystone and, if necessary, participate in peaceful civil disobedience. More than 16,000 have already signed the pledge.

“We’ve arrived at a critical moment, a moment where Americans must stand up for a safe, sane future that gets us away from the fossil fuels that are killing this planet,” Galvin said. “If our government isn’t going to listen to reason, they need to hear our voices and see us in the streets.”

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would, every day, carry up to 35 million gallons of oil strip-mined from Canada’s “tar sands” — some of the dirtiest fuels on the planet. The pipeline would cross the heart of the Midwest and deliver oil to the Gulf of Mexico, where much of it would be exported to other countries. Along the way the pipeline would cut through rivers, streams and prime wildlife habitat, including habitat for at least 20 imperiled species such as the whooping crane and pallid sturgeon.

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.

Extraction and refinement of tar-sands oil produces two 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 global warming catastrophe.

TransCanada’s existing Keystone I pipeline has reportedly leaked 14 times since it went into operation in June 2010, including one spill of 24,000 gallons. The State Department’s environmental reviews have pointed out that spills from Keystone XL are likely to occur, estimating that there could be as many as about 100 spills over the course of the pipeline’s lifespan.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 500,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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