Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is the right target at the right time

The latest Washington Post editorial once again gets it wrong on the importance of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring the climate change-causing, dirty tar sands oil from under Canada’s Boreal forest to the Gulf Coast refineries.

The Post editorial seemed upset that on Friday at the final State Department hearing about this pipeline, people had cried as though this is somehow not a valid part of the democratic process. What we need is clean energy. And if the tears of a teenager from Nebraska across whose land this dangerous pipeline would run take us one step closer to that clean energy, I am thankful to her that she had the bravery to come to a State Department hearing in DC and shed them.

Image removed.

Nebraskans Allaura Luebbe and Jane Kleeb testify at Keystone XL pipeline hearing.

Photo: Rocky Kistner/NRDC


The Post did admit that pipelines spill and that tar sands are dirty. But they then reached the incredible conclusion that we have to live with those types of risks – that we have no choice.

The Post says that with the right policies, climate change can be managed, but they don’t point out that we don’t have the right policies nor do they show us the path to get there.

In fact, it is the Post and the oil industry that is “wishing away” the many problems associated with our continued dependence on oil.

This pipeline would cause expansion of tar sands strip-mining and drilling in Canada’s Boreal forest and bring the corrosive material over the rivers and aquifers of America’s breadbasket to the Gulf Coast where it could be exported.  Canada has not yet built a similar pipeline to either of its coasts because of the strong protests of its own people to this dirty oil crossing their lands and waters.

I am convinced that if President Obama rejects this pipeline, those protests in Canada and to other proposed tar sands pipelines in the US will grow stronger. Fighting a single pipeline is not a pipe dream – but will curtail tar sands expansion and the global warming pollution and risks to our lands and waters that it brings. This in turn takes away the barriers to clean energy that lobbyists for tar sands oil industry are putting in place.

This hope for a clean energy future is why we are seeing an unprecedented alliance of people from all walks of life drawing the line at the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and asking the President to stand for clean energy instead of for dirty oil. This means green house gas standards, stronger fuel efficiency standards, clean fuel standards and many other policies that we know are necessary to protect not only the world, but our coasts from rising seas, Texas from droughts and fires, Iowa from floods, and Virginia from hurricanes and violent storms.