New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is bringing up the Keystone XL pipeline as his first order of business. Here’s why we’re urging senators to vote no:
Building Keystone hits the accelerator on global warming
The planet is heating up. Since 2000, we've experienced 13 of the 14 hottest years on record and this past year was the hottest. Scientists say there’s a limit to how much carbon we can add to the atmosphere before global warming spirals out of control. We’re starting to bend the curve of rising emissions, but not quickly enough.
In other words, we have to put the brakes on global warming pollution. Building Keystone puts our foot on the accelerator.
Specifically, building Keystone XL would add 27.4 million metric tons of carbon pollution to our atmosphere per year. That's the equivalent of putting another 5.7 million cars on the road.
Tar Sands Oil Field
A threat to America’s heartland and the great boreal forests
While burning this oil would overheat up the planet, it’s not the only reason building Keystone is a bad idea. Pumping it through the U.S. would threaten America's water. The 1,700 mile pipeline would cross 1,073 rivers, lakes and streams as well as one of the world’s largest and most important aquifers, the Ogallala, the irrigation source of America's agricultural heartland. We’ve seen what happens when tar sands pipelines spill and it ain’t pretty. A 2011 tar sands pipeline blowout contaminated 38 miles of Michigan’s Kalamazoo River — the cleanup cost more than a billion dollars and isn’t done yet.
Kalamazoo River Oil Spill
Beyond our borders, but still on our planet, extracting the oil from the Canadian tar sands will further damage the great boreal forest that spans much of Northern Canada, converting what was once pristine wildlife habitat into an apocalyptic landscape of mines, roads and waste pits so large they can be seen from space.
Boreal Forest in Canada
Only 35 permanent jobs
All this is reason enough to oppose Keystone even if the project was a big job-creator. But it’s not. According to TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline, the project will create 35 permanent jobs. 35.
The oil lobby and their allies in Congress have been pressuring President Obama to approve Keystone XL for six years. Recently, the president’s press secretary said he’ll veto the bill. A key question is whether enough senators and representatives will vote to sustain a presidential veto.
- Keystone XL would hit the accelerator on runaway global warming, adding another 26 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year.
- Keystone would add so much extra carbon to our atmosphere because tar sands oil is the dirtiest oil on the planet -- a gallon of it produces 17% more carbon than a gallon of conventional oil.
- Oil drilling and mining in Canada’s tar sands is converting what was once pristine wildlife habitat into an apocalyptic landscape of mines, roads and waste pits so large they can be seen from space.
- The 1,700-mile pipeline itself would cross 1,073 rivers, lakes and streams as well as one of the world’s largest and most important aquifers, the Ogallala, the irrigation source of America's agricultural heartland.