Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 6, 2015

Contact: Peter Galvin, (707) 986-2600,  

Obama Vows Veto of Bill Approving Keystone XL Pipeline

WASHINGTON— The Obama administration today pledged to veto the upcoming bill forcing the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The announcement comes as the new Republican-led Congress is sworn in, promising to make Keystone a top priority in the first part of this session.

“It’s encouraging to see President Obama stand up to the bullies in Congress who want to ram this project through,” said Peter Galvin, director of programs at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Keystone would be a disaster for our climate and wildlife, so here’s hoping this is his first step toward killing this project once and for all.”

The president has already said he won’t approve Keystone XL if it significantly exacerbates the problem of carbon pollution. The administration’s statement today sets up a likely showdown with Congress.

“This is the moment where we need President Obama to stand strong and on the right side of history,” Galvin said. “Keystone and projects like it have driven us into the climate crisis. The first step toward getting us out of this hole is to stop digging deeper.”

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 for at least 12 threatened and endangered species, including whooping cranes 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 twice as many 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.

TransCanada’s existing Keystone I tar sands pipeline has reportedly leaked at least 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 800,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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