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Shining Light on Obama's Tar Sands Pipeline Decision

Posted: 08/29/11 08:45 PM ET

Credit: Josh Lopez

This week, President Obama will find hundreds more people in front of the White House -- us included -- willing to go to jail for peacefully protesting the President's short-sighted decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama's decision on this enormous fossil fuel project will not be a quiet deal with oil industry lobbyists; it will be witnessed by millions of voters who had hoped that President Obama would have the vision to get America off of oil with a moonshot program for oil-free cars by the next decade. Instead, oil profits have been pitted against the world that our children will live in, hooking America to some of the highest polluting oil without moving America quickly to a foreign oil-free future.

For many Americans, Obama's promise to begin to move the United States away from its growing dependence on fossil fuels and address global warming was foremost among his promise of change. For many more, it was Obama's assurance that his presidency would change a political system dominated by lobbyists and their narrow interests, instead of the public interest. President Obama's commitment on both of these promises -- to the volunteers who knocked on doors, the young voters who elected him, and the country he leads -- will be tested by his decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

If approved, the pipeline construction would allow greater exploitation of the environmentally destructive tar sands, ripping up some of the world's last, most intact rainforests and wildlife habitat that has taken 10,000 years to evolve. The pipeline also threatens communities along its route with toxic oil spills. And by opening a new source of highly polluting tar sands, it could cause even more global warming, as James Hansen and 19 other prominent climate scientists have warned. This is why Keystone XL is opposed by Nebraskan ranchers, communities near the dangerous refineries in Texas, the nation's largest environmental organizations, and so many more.

The State Department on Friday showed the extraordinary influence that the fossil fuel industry still has in Washington, when it absurdly claimed that the environmental impacts of the pipeline would be 'minimal.' While these State Department reviews are "welcomed" by the American Petroleum Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency objected to earlier drafts as insufficient. For a glimpse of how the State Department's Keystone XL reviews could release such an unrealistic conclusion, look no further than Transcanada's lead lobbyist for the pipeline, a former top campaign aide for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This appears to be the kind of cronyism with the oil industry that Obama promised to end, but with several major oil companies involved in the project, it really is just a glimpse of the enormous lobbying pressure the oil industry has brought to bear.

Credit: Josh Lopez

Any hopes these oil lobbyists had for the closed door deal they are used to is now long gone. This week, we will stand with hundreds of Americans and our allies who take the world that we leave for our children seriously enough to risk arrest in hopes that President Obama will take the security of our country and the world we leave our children seriously enough to cancel the tar sands pipeline and fast track his work to get America off of oil, period.

We'll see you at the White House.

This post was originally published on Greenpeace.org


Follow Philip Radford on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Phil_Radford

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don't be naive
01:16 AM on 09/03/2011
americans are energy hogs, look at the size of the vehicles passing you on the interstate at 80 mph. evidently we are incapable of conservation, which will dictate our fate more than this pipeline ever will. as long as there is a market, there will be no shortage of dealers, just like the drug war in mexico, as long as there's a market there will be a cartel delivering the goods. and since there is no decline in u.s. appetite for the contraband, the only ethical thing to do here is legalize hemp, which is a large part of it, thus putting the cartels out of bidnis. with oil which is legal, the only thing to do is drop consumption, go green. this could work in japan where citizens are disciplined but here it's still bigger the better...oil is doomed, and we will follow suit unless big changes happen now
Love, Tolerance, Enlightenment
08:53 PM on 09/06/2011
Sadly true. The new ugly American is an energy pig.

too bad because green energy is cheaper and better.


Great chart of energy source amounts: http://cleantechnica.com/2011/08/23/solar-power-intro-3-key-solar-power-points-top-solar-power-news/

Solar energy payback 1-3 years:http://www.motherearthnews.com/energy-matters/dispelling-the-myths-of-solar-electricity-energy-payback.aspx

Wind 6 months energy payback: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/01/wind_turbine_lca.php
http://www.wind-works.org/articles/EnergyBalanceofWindTurbines.html 3 months

panels lasting longer and better than predicted http://solar.gwu.edu/Research/EnergyPolicy_Zweibel2010.pdf Great article about price of solar now 3$/W installed. last 100 years, 1-2 cents pwer KWH after the first 20 years and the loan is paid off.

Solar pv panels have dropped from 100$/Wp in 1980, to less than 75 cents per Wp 2011.
Love, Tolerance, Enlightenment
02:34 AM on 08/31/2011
Rooftop solar, offshore wind and waste bio char bio fuels are safe, clean, 24/7 and carbon negative in combination, forever, and cheaper than oil sands, oil wars, clean coal or nukes. This is a total waste of money and environment for the new Chinese owners of the Oil sands...You didn't know? http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Chinas-CNOOC-buying-Canadian-apf-4141200374.html?x=0&.v=2
Think before posting.
09:14 PM on 08/30/2011
We don't need this dirty oil.

Leave the tar sands in the soil.
07:08 PM on 08/30/2011
I am for the pipeline. We need oil for a vibrant economy.
06:20 PM on 08/30/2011
As a Canadian and lover of geography, I would humbly point out GreenPeace's mistake when it refers to the "rainforest" that will be destroyed by Keystone XL. Wrong. It's the world's largest intact BOREAL forest. There is no rainforest in Alberta!
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Papa Swamp
Apex predator, ocean freak.
04:42 PM on 08/30/2011
USC has just made a huge leap forward in hydrogen fuel technology….huge. It would make the pipeline unnecessary. THis is what people should push. This is a viable alternative.

" Earlier this year, Williams and his team figured out a way to release hydrogen from an innocuous chemical material -- a nitrogen-boron complex, ammonia borane -- that can be stored as a stable solid.
Now the team has developed a catalyst system that releases enough hydrogen from its storage in ammonia borane to make it usable as a fuel source. Moreover, the system is air-stable and re-usable, unlike other systems for hydrogen storage on boron and metal hydrides."
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Cogito ergo spud, I think, therefore I yam
02:37 PM on 08/30/2011
If China is building windmills, why are they also building coal fired plants?
05:12 AM on 08/31/2011
China and India have a common dilema. Their populations will only tolerate a government that is improving their standards of living. Windmills and coal fired plants can't be built fast enough. India has even more to deal with. It's economy is growing very quickly. It's population growth is even faster. Some of China's new coal plants are replacing old inefficient and dirtier plants. But, they are still burning coal. China's own coal is not the best. Most of the CO2 that is currently in the atmosphere did not come from China or India. Guess where.
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Cogito ergo spud, I think, therefore I yam
02:15 PM on 08/30/2011
Ethical Oil, your source for the facts on the oil sands and the facts on those who oppose them:


"This review is from: Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands (Hardcover)

I enjoyed this Book. It provides great Ammo to shoot down someone at the Office cocktail party who has swallowed the popular line on Alberta's Oil riches and how their extraction compares with the alternatives we face. He makes many compelling points that compare the reality of Canada's energy program vs the alternatives we don't like to think about. Namely oil from Saudi, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Sudan,Nigeria,Mexico. Another interesting point driven home is the cost of oil coming out of the Middle East and the hidden tax associated with it. Namely the 50 Billion the US pumps into the region with their military to keep the oil flowing. After reading this, it makes you think the only responsible oil producers are ourselves (Canadians) and the Norwegians. The best parts are when Levant drags out the dishonest practices and contradictions of Greenpeace and other so called "Ethical" investment players.
If anyone should read this, it is Americans. Know what you are buying and funding. "
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Cogito ergo spud, I think, therefore I yam
02:00 PM on 08/30/2011
Greenpeace is a joke.
They are a fund raising corporation, not an environment group.

China builds non-combined cycle coal fired plants.
20 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in China yet Greenpeace has as their main concerns disposable chopsticks and recycling cell phones.
If Greenpeace mentions that, they won't be allowed to fund raise there.
12:57 PM on 08/30/2011
I wish they'd have used the money they spent on that big red sign on finding a clean energy alternative.
Jerry Cope
11:20 AM on 08/30/2011
Joind Daryl at the White House tomorrow (wednesday) and say NO to the Keystone XL pipeline.....
09:17 AM on 08/30/2011
The right is effectively doing to Environmentalism what it did to Liberalism....MAKING IT A "DIRTY" WORD. The time for the left, and for environmentalists to STOP being passive and apologetic is here. It's now or never. By NOT fighting back, by being afraid to define a strong position, the left is continually letting the right DEFINE them. It happens again and again. The Left let the right define the word "patriotism" and didnt take a stand against fear mongering that led us into war in Iraq. Again and again, the lefts lack of a spine on its own ideology has given complete control of public perception over to the right. It's maddening. I like Obama, but he is NOT a Liberal. Although if you believed the right, he's practically a Socialist. Obama has come to the middle of every issue be it healthcare or environmentalism. The problem is, like Bill Maher famously said...that the middle isnt really the middle anymore. The Right have gone so far right that the middle is now somewhere in crazy town, and Obama and the left keep thinking they are compromising when in reality they are not. Again...it's because they are letting the right dictate EVERY issue and thus control public perception. The left COULD make the issue of climate change and green jobs a PATRIOTIC issue, but they don't. They are afraid it will cost them the election. It's nuts.
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Cogito ergo spud, I think, therefore I yam
02:27 PM on 08/30/2011
Oh please.
Missed the 'denier' tag being hung on AGW sceptics?
Missed the word 'sceptic' being turned into a perjorative by the left?

Get real.
Try looking at both sides of the issue.
E = Fb
06:19 PM on 08/30/2011
when you are on the side of 3% of the scientists, you are a denier.

and it's "skeptic"
12:14 PM on 08/31/2011
CanadaStan - oh please please please learn a little before you post.
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09:08 AM on 08/30/2011
It is all about oil, oil, oil, oil OIL.
I'm done. We had better find a real candidate we can believe in and TRUST for 2012.
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12:22 PM on 08/30/2011
So, you've come up with a substitute for oil, then?
03:13 PM on 08/30/2011
Yes jp. There is a substitute for oil.
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Cogito ergo spud, I think, therefore I yam
02:29 PM on 08/30/2011
Try getting one who can compose a sentence:

08:58 AM on 08/30/2011
The only way Obama Democrats can defend the president's potential approval of this pipeline is for them to join republicans and become temporarily science deniers as to this pipeline's effect on the emvironment. I hate to use this worn out phrase but I wwill. This is the president's defining moment. He stands naked on this issue. It is his alone to make. no blaming the GOP obstructionists; no whinning about 60 votes; no shopworn line that he is not a king. Obama Democrats: What will you say and do if he breaks this promise too?
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Cogito ergo spud, I think, therefore I yam
02:31 PM on 08/30/2011
Science deniers?
Like Hide The Decline?
Like using the term concensus and thinking science is decided by a show of hands to a misleading question?

Too funny!
03:19 PM on 08/30/2011
I have to ask you CanadaStan. Is your real name Stephen Harper?
08:58 AM on 08/30/2011
Mr. Radford and Miss Hannah, Who did YOU vote for? How's that Hope! and Cgange! work out for you?

09:38 AM on 08/30/2011
You do realize that as a Department of State decision, Hillary is every bit as involved in this as Obama, right?
07:25 AM on 08/31/2011
If so, she should be criticized also...