Over 100 Mayors Voice Concern Over Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

In the wake of a decision to do a new review of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, 103 American mayors sent a letter expressing concerns about the impacts to communities of the pipeline to President Barack Obama.  President Obama is listening to concerns from all across America about the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and now mayors from coast-to-coast are weighing in. Mayors are at the frontlines of reducing our dependence on oil and have been working to create a more efficient system because they take climate change seriously. The mayors took this action to demonstrate the widespread support that exists among local communities across the country for rejecting the proposed pipeline. The letter underscores the importance of carrying out a new, in-depth review of the project that includes a careful look at the project’s impact on our nation’s climate change goals and on the efforts of local communities across the country to reduce our demand for oil. The mayors thank the President for the new review, but remain convinced that a full, fair review can yield only one answer: the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in the nation’s best interest.

The letter, signed by mayors from 28 states, 10 state capitals, and serving a combined population of over 9 million Americans, states: “Expansion of high carbon fuels such as tar sands undermine hard work by local communities everywhere to fight climate change, reduce dependence on oil, and create a clean energy future.” The letter concludes: “We ask that you find that the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in the national interest and deny its permit.”

Mayors Frank Cownie of Des Moines, Iowa, Jennifer Hosterman of Pleasanton, California, John Dickert of Racine, Wisconsin and Kitty Piercy of Eugene, Oregon led the effort over the past months to talk with mayors about their efforts to reduce the use of oil in their communities and how expansion of tar sands undermines those efforts.

In their own words, this is why fighting climate change and expansion of high carbon fuels such as tar sands is important to them:

Mayor Frank Cownie – Des Moines, Iowa

“We are heartened by President Obama’s move to give the Keystone XL project a sober second thought.  We encourage him to use this opportunity to take a closer, critical look at what is really driving this project: a business strategy to increase profits and expand access to export markets, as the proponents explained in hearings when they sought approval for the Canadian portion of the line.  By diverting tar sands crude from Midwest refineries where it currently goes, to the Gulf, Keystone XL opens the door for it to be sold at higher prices to the Gulf and export markets. This will likely raise Midwest fuel prices. Keystone XL adds insult to injury by having Americans bear the brunt of environmental risks of transporting this crude across our heartlands and then having to likely pay higher prices for fuel, all while huge amounts of this oil leaves our ports for lucrative export markets.”

Mayor John Dickert – Racine, Wisconsin

“What this country needs to focus on is reducing our reliance on fossil fuels!  Simply replacing foreign oil with a process like the tar sands brings unacceptable risks to important water resources everywhere. Fresh water is priceless and we need to start treating it as such.”

Mayor Jennifer Hosterman – Pleasanton, California

“When the President, said recently that he thought “folks in Nebraska like all across the country” aren’t going to trade putting our kids’ health at risk from contaminated drinking water, or potentially harming agriculture in our heartlands all for “a few thousand jobs”, he hit the nail on the head. In fact, we don’t need to make the trade at all: jobs that are actually good for the environment can employ people across the country, whereas the Keystone XL pipeline will create jobs only for a small number of people in a few states, and not necessarily where jobs are needed most.”

Mayor Kitty Piercy – Eugene, Oregon

“Mayors work hard to reduce their carbon footprints and our dependence on oil at the local level, because their citizens are worried about climate change. People are seeing changes in the climate already, and frankly don’t much care what naysayers and skeptics say anymore. The people we serve expect us to take action now, help slow down climate change, and preserve the Earth for their children and grandchildren. Avoiding further tar sands pipelines, like the Keystone XL, is a critical step in making that happen.”

You can view the Mayors' Joint Letter to President Obama on Keystone XL Pipeline Permit here and the backgrounder on mayoral concerns over the project here.

The following mayors signed the letter:

Mayors signing the letter include Frank Cownie (Des Moines IA), John Dickert (Racine WI), Jennifer Hosterman (Pleasanton CA), Kitty Piercy (Eugene OR), Marie Gilmore (Alameda, CA), Gerald D. Jennings (Albany, NY), William Euille (Alexandria, VA),  Ed Pawlowski (Allentown, PA),  Susan Ornelas (Arcata, CA),  William R. Stokes (Augusta, ME),  Denny Doyle (Beaverton, OR),  Dan Pike (Bellingham, WA),  Tom Bates (Berkeley, CA),  Joanne Twomey (Biddeford, ME),  Mark Kruzan (Bloomington, IN),  Roger C. Claar (Bolingbrook, IL),  Bob Kiss (Burlington, VT),  Jim Pedelty (Carroll, IA),  Don Gerard (Champaign, IL),  Mike Kleinschmidt (Chapel Hill, NC),  Ann Schwab (Chico, CA),  Julie Manning (Corvallis, OR),  Bill Gluba (Davenport, IA),  Roy D. Buol (Dubuque, IA),  William “Bill” Bell (Durham, NC),  Antonia Ricigliano (Edison, NJ), Philip Miller (Essex, CT),  Ed Malloy (Fairfield, IA),  Lioneld Jordan (Fayetteville, AR),  Bob Wasserman (Fremont, CA),  Craig Lowe (Gainesville, FL),  Chase Palmer (Gallatin, TX),  Laura Friedman (Glendale, CA),  Jacob Smith (Golden, CO),  George Heartwell (Grand Rapids, MI),  David Doonan (Greenwich, NY),  Joy Cooper, (Hallandale Beach, FL),  Michael Sweeney (Hayward, CA),  William D. McLeod (Hoffman Estates, IL),  Carolyn K. Peterson (Ithaca, NY), Eugene J. Rosin (Kaukauna, WI),  P. Dale Pregent (Keene, NH),  Art Madrid (La Mesa, CA),  Virg Bernero (Lansing, MI),  Aron Cromwell (Lawrence, KS),  Laurent F. Gilbert (Lewiston, ME),  Paul R. Soglin (Madison, WI),  Bruce Delgado (Marina, CA),  Robert Harbick (Marinette, WI),  Matti Bower (Miami Beach, FL), Lori Moseley (Miramar, FL), R.T. Rybak (Minneapolis, MN),  Mary C. Hooper (Montpelier, VT),  George D. Scherck (Neenah, WI),  Scott Lang (New Bedford, MA),  Jack Chiovatero (New Berlin, WI),  John DeStefano, Jr. (New Haven, CT),  Jason West (New Paltz, NY),  Paul Dyster (Niagara Falls, NY),  Chris Koos (Normal, IL),  Patrick Henry Hays (North Little Rock, AR),  David Pope (Oak Park, IL),  Dana Williams (Park City, UT),  Bill Bogaard (Pasadena, CA),  Frank C. Ortis (Pembroke Pines, FL),  David Glass (Petaluma, CA), David Malone (Portsmouth, OH),  Gayle McLaughlin (Richmond, CA),  Don Richards (River Falls, WI),  Ardell F. Brede (Rochester, MN),  Roland L. Michaud (Saco, ME),   Kevin Johnson (Sacramento, CA),   Ralph Becker (Salt Lake City, UT),  Jan Marx (San Louis Obispo, CA),  Helene Schneider (Santa Barbara, CA),  David Coss (Santa Fe, NM),  Richard Bloom (Santa Monica, CA),  Ernesto Olivares (Santa Rosa, CA),  Chris Doherty (Scranton, PA),  Mike McGinn (Seattle, WA),  Earl M. Leiken (Shaker Heights, OH),  Joseph A. Curtatone (Somerville, MA),  Brenda Lawrence (Southfield, MI),  Elizabeth A. Goreham (State College, PA),  Ann Johnston (Stockton, CA),  Stephanie Miner (Syracuse, NY),  John Marks III (Tallahassee, FL),  Darren Cordova (Taos, NM),  Jeffrey Lamarand (Taylor, MI),  Tony F. Mack (Trenton, NJ),  Shelley Welsch (University City, MO),  Laurel Prussing (Urbana, IL),  Jim Sullivan (Victory, NY),  Michael J. O’Brien (Warren, OH),  Buck Clark, (Waterloo, IA),  William F. Peard (Waukee, IA),  Jeri Muoio (West Palm Beach, FL), William Wild (Westland, MI),  Christopher Cabaldon (West Sacramento, CA), Jerry Sullivan (Windsor Heights, IA),  Joseph C. O’Brien (Worcester, MA),  Former Mayor Heidi Davison (Athens, GA),  Former Mayor Genoveva Garcia Calloway (San Pablo, CA).