Nobel Peace Prize Winners Condemn Keystone XL Pipeline for Dirty Tar Sands

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Recently nine Nobel Peace Prize Winners wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas. Today NRDC and the Nobel Women’s Initiative are running an ad in the Washington Post featuring the full text of the letter and its powerful message.

The authors include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and American landmines activist Jody Williams. Each one of these moral leaders condemns the pipeline for the threats it will pose to communities in its path, the Ogallala Aquifer it will traverse, and the global climate it will alter.

The Laureates write to the president:

“Like you, we understand that strip-mining and drilling tar sands from under Alberta’s Boreal forests and then transporting thousands of barrels of oil a day from Canada through to Texas will not only hurt people in the US—but will also endanger the entire planet. After the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, the full development of the Alberta tar sands will create the world’s second largest potential source of global warming gases.”

Indeed, the production process alone for tar sand fuel generates three times as much global warming pollution as conventional crude. That doesn’t even include burning it in cars.

Inviting more of this dirty fuel into America will benefit tar sands oil companies, but it won’t help our nation’s energy future.

The State Department is currently consulting with agencies and the public to determine whether the pipeline is in America’s national interest. Yet critical pieces of the review process remain missing on issues such as pipeline safety, alternative routes to the Ogallala Aquifer, and environmental justice. There is no need to rush the decision on this pipeline. The Administration should have all the necessary information before it makes it determination.

The Administration’s recent decisions to abandon stronger limits on smog and to delay issuing rules to reduce carbon emissions from power plants have been a deep disappointment and will result in a further threat to our health. The Keystone XL pipeline sets the stage yet again to see whether the president will act on his commitment to protect the nation from the deleterious effects of climate change.


Photo credit: Judy Rand