Susan Luebbe's testimony at last week's State Department hearing on TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline was very moving. We'd already heard from college students, a union representative, environmental organization leaders (including me), and more - but to hear testimony from a land-owner in the path of this destructive and dangerous pipeline was eye-opening to those in attendance.
This pipeline would cross nearly 2,000 miles to pump Canadian tar sands oil - called bitumen - across six U.S. states to refineries in Texas. As Susan notes, thousands of miles of fragile ecosystems and resources lie in the pipeline's path, including the Ogallala aquifer, which provides drinking water to more than two million Americans.The State Department's study on the pipeline is flawed and inadequate, and the whole project should be rejected.
Why are we willing to further chain ourselves to oil addiction but not invest in clean energy alternatives? Why are we putting so many Americans, so much land, and so much water at risk for an energy source that's already decimated parts of Alberta, Canada, from a company that's already shown safety isn't its first priority, and before a proper environmental review of the project has been conducted?
Thankfully, thousands of Americans have voiced their concerns about Keystone XL. We're seeing college students bird-dog President Obama as he tours the Midwest. We're seeing ranchers like Susan and her friend Randy (who was also at last Friday's DC State Department hearing) unite to oppose TransCanada.
And I haven't even gotten to the controversy over the conflicts of interest in this decision from the State Department. I have been outraged to learn that the State Department allowed TransCanada to pick a close business partner to run the environmental assessment process. It's no longer surprising that so many critical details have been overlooked and kept hidden. There's also the cozy relationship of the State Department with a former Hillary Clinton staffer who now lobbies for TransCanada on this project.
The Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline is a bad idea from every angle - and the more Americans know about it, the more they oppose it. In fact, some of the pro-pipeline supporters at the Friday hearing ended up switching sides after they listened to testimony.
As we near the State Department's self-imposed end-of-the-year deadline, the next major action calling for the rejection of tar sands is quickly approaching.
The groundswell of opposition to this dirty and dangerous project grows - on November 6th we'll return to the White House to remind Obama that he can and should say no to the Keystone XL pipeline. This is a prime opportunity for Obama to invigorate his supporters, stand up to corporate polluters, and deliver on the change he promised.
Will you join us on November 6th to make your voice heard against this dangerous and dirty pipeline?
Read more about Keystone XL:
Dalai Lama & Nobel Laureates Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline
Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Jobs Benefits Exaggerated
Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Could Have 91 Serious Spills in 50 Years