Business leaders urge rejection of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline


As the Obama administration considers the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, hundreds of business leaders across the nation are urging Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama to reject the high carbon project.

In a letter released by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), nearly 250 business owners, investors and others investors called for the rejection of Keystone XL, noting that the project would impose nearly $100 billion in climate related cost on the economy and undermine the U.S. commitment to a transition to clean, sustainable and low carbon energy. In addition to increasing our reliance on fossil fuels, the burning of tar sands oil that would come from the Keystone XL pipeline also would negatively impact our economy with additional healthcare, environmental and climate-change related costs.

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which represents over than 200,000 businesses across the country, has also called for the administration to reject Keystone XL. The ASBC notes that the small businesses will be disproportionately impacted by the costs of climate change and that Keystone XL would not be economically feasible if tar sands companies had to pay the public costs for carbon pollution, tar sands spills, land impacts of extraction and the many health impacts of tar sands extraction, transportation and use. All of these businesses point out that Keystone XL is a bad deal for the country and its long term economic prospects.

“It’s crucial that the sustainable business community raise its voice yet again against the Keystone XL pipeline – against this continued reliance on fossil fuels; against exaggerated job creation claims; against unnecessary threats to our health, water, and land. We need to speak up in support of massive investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, now more than ever.” Fran Teplitz, policy director for ASBC partner Green America, Feb. 3, 2014

Both E2 and the ASBC point out that Keystone XL would do little to put Americans to work, noting that the 35 permanent jobs ultimately created by the project pale in comparison to the economic potential of the clean energy and clean transportation sectors, which announced more than 78,600 jobs last year alone, according to E2’s just-released 2013 Clean Energy Works for Us jobs report.

The E2 letter notes the significant economic costs of the tar sands project, observing: 

“The pipeline alone would produce nearly $100 billion in costs to our economy over its projected lifespan. These costs will be borne by U.S. citizens, businesses and taxpayers, while the profits from the pipeline will accrue to private corporations many of which are foreign interests.” E2, March 7th, 2014

The business leaders went on to observe the role that the approval of Keystone XL would have in signaling to markets that future tar sands expansion and its required infrastructure will receive the support of the U.S. government. The Obama administration to reduce its carbon emissions and stabilize its warming will require a departure from business as usual energy and infrastructure policies. The administration’s decision on Keystone XL will prove an important signal to both markets and the international community of how serious the United States is taking its climate commitments:

“Permitting the Keystone XL pipeline is a long-term investment in tar sands oil, one of the most carbon- and water-intensive fuels on the planet. The pipeline would increase carbon pollution and its attendant costs and undermine the U.S. commitment to a transition to clean, sustainable and low carbon energy.” E2, March 7th, 2014

Our nation’s long term economic interests are best served by moving toward clean, sustainable sources of energy.

“If our nation is serious about job creation in the energy sector, we need to focus on the development of renewable energy which holds forth greater promise of job creation than the fossil fuel industry.” David Levine, CEO and Co-founder at the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), Feb. 3, 2014