TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2013 POLITICO 5Open Letter to President Barack ObamaDear Mr. President,With Fridays announcement that the...
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Politico ad

Published on: Mar 4, 2016
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  • 1. TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2013 POLITICO 5Open Letter to President Barack ObamaDear Mr. President,With Fridays announcement that the Canadian provincial government of British Columbia opposes thetransportation of tar sands oil over their lands, the last of the arguments for the development of the KeystonePipeline has collapsed.It has been my belief all along that your Administration was not going to approve the Keystone Pipeline becauseit simply made no sense on the policy merits to allow a pipeline that would enable massive greenhouseemissions, do almost nothing for our economy and slow our own move to research- based advanced energyindependence that will generate hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Now this announcement by BritishColumbia, coupled with the other information that has come out since the review of the project began, meansthe controversy should be over.Over the last year, each of the policy arguments for the pipeline has cratered.First fell the argument that the pipeline would support oil independence. The U.S. is now an exporter of oil, andthe Keystone oil will be piped across the Midwest down to the Gulf of Mexico where it will then be shipped as acheap source of energy to our economic competitors in Asia, including China. In fact, TransCanada, the companybuilding the pipeline, refused to support guarantees that the Keystone oil would not be used for foreign exportwhen asked by Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) during congressional testimony in December 2011.Second toppled the argument that the pipeline is good for the U.S. economy. The pipeline will generate profits,but profits overwhelmingly for foreign companies. The project will generate as much as $3.9 billion in additionalrevenue for foreign oil companies. Jobs, of course, are critical, but for the billions that the American people willgenerate for foreign oil companies, we will only get 35 permanent jobs in return. In fact, it appears that amongthe few Americans who would actually financially benefit from the building of the pipeline are the Koch Brothers(they have already been storing a toxic byproduct of Canadian tar sands oil at a location in Detroit, and inCanadian regulatory filings one of their subsidiaries declared that it had a “direct and substantial interest” in theconstruction of Keystone).And now, the argument that the tar sands oil was going to be delivered across Canada if the U.S. pipeline was notpermitted has been demolished. The contractor hired by the State Department to prepare its Keystone XLenvironmental impact review is reportedly under investigation for an alleged conflict of interest. Based on thatcontractor’s report, the State Department declared that there will be no significant greenhouse gas emissionsfrom Keystone because the oil would be exported by other means if the pipeline were not approved. Thatargument was always a flimsy rationalization, but it has now been completely undermined by the decision ofBritish Columbia to oppose a route through that province. This decision shows that our EnvironmentalProtection Agency was right all along: Transporting tar sands from Canada through the Keystone Pipeline willsignificantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.Given that none of the chief arguments being put forth by supporters of the pipeline remain standing, NextGenAction is going to be working with our friends and allies who are opposed to the development of Keystone XL tointensify our efforts in communicating what is the right policy choice to your Administration. On June 20, inWashington D.C. we will announce a campaign that will specifically focus on communicating to those Americansacross the country that supported your re-election in 2012.Respectfully,Tom SteyerPaid for by NextGen Action

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