Oil Pipelines Threaten Our Climate and Waters

Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline are all risk and no reward for our country.

President Trump took a series of actions today that confirm his position as Polluter-in-Chief, threatening the welfare of the country with a move towards the dirty energy of the past. Even more, he fired a broadside at the public’s right to engage in the decisions that affect us. With a stroke of the pen, Trump invited the foreign oil company TransCanada to re-propose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that had already been rejected as not being in the national interest. And he disregarded the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux by directing an expedited review of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

If these pipelines were to be built, both pose major risks to our water, land, and climate. At the same time, they do not help jobs or security. Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline are all risk and no reward for our country. And at a time when clean energy is more affordable than ever, investing in decades more of fossil fuel infrastructure is the wrong choice.

So tonight I stood with hundreds of others who gathered at short notice at the White House. This is a time where showing up is more important than ever.

The Keystone XL pipeline would bring expensive and dirty tar sands oil from under Canada’s Boreal forest across America’s heartland for export overseas. Keystone XL would worsen climate change, driving expansion of the climate-polluting tar sands strip-mining and drilling. And, it would put America’s farmers and ranchers at risk of oil spills contaminating the Ogallala Aquifer. All of this for 35 permanent jobs. This is the project that President Trump is inviting into our country.

In addressing the Dakota Access pipeline, Trump called for an end run around the legitimate concerns of indigenous people. The Standing Rock Sioux have a right to be heard and to have a genuine review. That right needs to be honored—not trampled upon for the sake of oil company profits. The Dakota Access Pipeline would carry fracked oil to Gulf coast refineries. The Standing Rock Sioux have been protesting this pipeline since it was first proposed and recently the Army Corps of Engineers determined that further review of the route was needed, including nation-to-nation discussions with the Standing Rock Sioux. The crossing of the Missouri River at Lake Oahe is of special concern. Lake Oahe is the primary water source for the Standing Rock Sioux and a sight of immeasurable cultural and spiritual significance to the tribe. The pipeline project would desecrate sacred sites including cairns, stone prayer rings, and even burial grounds.

Keystone XL brought climate activists, indigenous community members, ranchers and many others to stand together to protect our climate and waters and reject this dirty energy project. People took to the streets to protest Keystone XL in Washington, DC and around the country spurring a wave of climate action that culminated in the 400,000 strong People’s Climate March in New York in 2015. Similarly, the Dakota Access Pipeline has moved people from across the country to come out in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux.

So I was proud to stand in front of the White House tonight with a clear message. We will keep showing up, taking action, and finding ways to safeguard our health and environment even with a President who puts polluters above the people he is sworn to represent.

We have been fighting polluting projects such as Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline for many years. And we will go on fighting these projects and every threat to our climate, communities and waters. Americans overwhelmingly want to invest in clean energy, not in dirty energy. That is the future.