The US State Department’s final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline has been released. The State Department “does not regard the No Action Alternative to be preferable to the proposed Project.”
On Day 7 of the White House Sit-in, an estimated 50 more Americans expect arrest today. To date, 322 citizens have been jailed to tell President Obama that he has their support if he stands up to Big Oil. Today’s protestors will hold a banner at the White House fence that reads: “OBAMA: THIS IS OUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT.” The Environmental Protection Agency has blasted the two previous State Department reports for lacking critical information about the environmental impacts of the pipeline. Concerns over the State Department’s objectivity have also surfaced due to a former Clinton staff joining TransCanada as a lead lobbyist for the pipeline.
Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica responds: “The ranchers, nurses, farmers and other Americans fighting to protect their communities from the disastrous impacts of tar sands oil have had their concerns fall on deaf ears at the State Department, but ultimately, responsibility for this decision rests with President Obama.”
Center for American Progress senior fellow Tom Kenworthy responds: “The State Department’s assessment that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will have only a limited environmental impact should not be the final word from the Obama administration on the plan to sharply increase imports of dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the U.S. But it is unfortunate because it builds momentum for a final permit approval by the end of this year.
At a time when the U.S. should be doing everything in its power to reduce carbon dioxide pollution and speed the transition to cleaner fuels, the Keystone XL pipeline would be a step backward. Getting oil from Canada’s tar sands is a dirty business, considerably dirtier in terms of carbon pollution than producing conventional oil. That is why hundreds of protestors have been gathering at the White House in recent days, and subjecting themselves to arrest on behalf of a cleaner planet.
President Obama has demonstrated leadership in reducing Americans’ oil use by modernizing vehicle fuel economy and tailpipe standards that will reduce oil use by 2.5 million barrels of oil daily. Americans look again to his leadership to continue along this path by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline permit. It is not in the national interest, nor is it in humanity’s interest.”