Washington, DC – On the last day of the public comment period, Keystone XL opponents held a rally in front of the State Department to deliver more than 2 million comments submitted to the State Department to urge Secretary Kerry and President Obama to reject the dirty, dangerous pipeline. The public comment period regarding the national interest of the pipeline began on February 5, after the State Department published the final environmental review.
These 2 million+ comments telling Secretary Kerry and President Obama that Keystone XL is not in the national interest exceed the more than one million comments submitted last year that expressed concern about the draft environmental review – showing a growth in concern about the risky project. Hundreds of rallies and vigils have also been held across the country, urging Secretary Kerry and President Obama to oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
The same activists are prepared to mobilize in celebration following a rejection, and more than 86,000 have signed a Pledge of Resistance to commit acts of civil disobedience if Secretary Kerry recommends approval of Keystone XL to President Obama.
Given the serious concerns about climate impacts, environmental and health concerns, and the lack of a route in Nebraska, Secretary Kerry has sufficient information to conclude that Keystone XL is not in our national interest and to recommend that President Obama reject the permit.
Even the State Department’s oil-soaked analysis acknowledged that the pipeline would significantly exacerbate climate pollution under certain scenarios and flagged serious water issues.
Secretary Kerry has stated that the ongoing 90 day National Interest Determination process, in which eight agencies can comment on whether the tar sands pipeline is in our national interest, marks the beginning of his involvement in the process. The EPA’s comments on two previous State Department analyses included significant concerns about State’s process and findings.
The 2 million+ comments will be buttressed by ads in blue and orange line metro cars that read:
Secretary Kerry: You’ve spent a lifetime challenging Weapons of Mass Destruction. Don’t ignite one. Say no to Keystone XL.
Nearly 900,000 of the comments came from international pipeline opponents, including Desmond Tutu. People around the world are watching Secretary Kerry on this issue, and his recommendation on Keystone XL will shape his international reputation and efficacy.
Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters President: “When we asked our hundreds of thousands of members across the country to send comments to the State Department, they responded with an overwhelming call to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Nobody has done more to fight climate change than Secretary Kerry, and I’m confident that as he reviews the public comments, the science, and the facts, he will find that this dirty, dangerous pipeline is not in the national interest and must be rejected.”
Maura Cowley, Energy Action Coalition Executive Director: “Just last weekend 398 young leaders got arrested at the White House to protest Keystone XL, and more than 2 million are submitting comments to stand with these young people and demand President Obama and Secretary Kerry reject Keystone XL. If President Obama and Secretary Kerry want to maintain the enthusiasm of young people, and the country, they must show they stand with us, not Big Oil, and reject this dangerous pipeline.”
Frances Beinecke, Natural Resources Defense Council President: “This new outpouring of public opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline demonstrates yet again that the more Americans learn about this project the more we want the Obama Administration to reject it. Instead of embracing the dirtiest oil on Earth, let’s put America squarely on the path to a cleaner energy future. This tar sands project would only aid and abet our oil addiction and worsen climate change. It is not in America’s national interest.”
Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director: “We are at a crossroads, and a road paved with tar sands will take us over the climate crisis cliff. American families have embraced 21st Century clean energy prosperity and can’t wait to leave behind 19th Century fossil fuels that pollute our water, air, land and public health.
“President Obama, with Secretary of State John Kerry’s counsel, now have an obligation and opportunity to reject the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline and support the American ingenuity that is already generating remarkable clean energy success.”
Bill McKibben, 350.org Co-Founder: “For three years now there’s been an absolutely unprecedented outpouring of reaction to this pipeline proposal: from scientists, Nobel laureates, economists, theologians, and most of all from us ordinary Americans across the country. It’s the biggest blizzard of public comment about any infrastructure project—and now we’ll see if the Obama administration will listen to the people, or to the big oil boys.”
Elijah Zarlin, CREDO’s Senior Campaign Manager: “Secretary Kerry was absolutely right when he said that climate change is a weapon of mass destruction — and that means he must oppose the carbon bomb that is Keystone XL. If the two million comments opposing Keystone XL doesn’t convince Sec. Kerry to stand by his own words and recommend President Obama reject this pipeline, then more than 86,000 Americans are ready to risk arrest in massive civil disobedience.”
Stephen Kretzmann, Oil Change International Executive Director: “Secretary Kerry and President Obama have a simple choice: they can stand with Big Oil or they can stand with the millions of Americans calling for rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. By rejecting the pipeline, they can live up to their own words and commitments, and move our country in a new direction away from fossil fuels and the climate chaos they are bringing upon us.”
Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth President: “For the sake of our children, it is a diplomatic imperative that the State Department fights to prevent climate change. If Secretary Kerry intends to remain a climate champion, he should draw the line here and tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.”
Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska Executive Director: “We stand with Pres. Obama when he echoed our concerns: ‘Nebraskans are not going to take a few thousand jobs if it’s means our drinking water and our kids health could be put at risk.’ The State Department confirmed the proposed route still crosses the Sandhills and Ogallala Aquifer. TransCanada is a foreign tarsands pipeline without a route in our state and we have the determination and numbers to keep it that way.”
Amanda Starbuck, Rainforest Action Network Climate Program Director: “We’re hearing from people all across this country who know that the Keystone XL pipeline is absolutely not in our nation’s best interest. The two million comments delivered today reflect a huge wave of resistance to the pipeline. From the Oglala Lakota Sioux fighting to stop the pipeline from entering their territory to the hundreds of students arrested at the White House gates, we stand united with everyday Americans who are ready to do what it takes to stop this pipeline, once and for all.”
Ricken Patel, Avaaz.org Executive Director: “The Keystone decision could, in one stroke of the pen, make or break Kerry’s ability to lead climate action on the global stage. And it will determine whether the US is serious about fighting to save the planet, or even able to meet its existing global emissions reductions. Nearly two million people are calling on the US to lead the world to a better climate future. It’s up to Kerry to heed them.”
Jim Lyon, National Wildlife Federation Senior Vice President for Conservation: “Today more than two million Americans add their name to the call for President Obama to say no to Keystone XL, far outnumbering industry proponents who outspent those asking for denial by 35 to 1. The President has all he needs to reject this dangerous pipeline that would cut through America’s heartland and put people and wildlife at risk. We are confident that the President will stand by this commitment to tackle climate change and reject projects, like Keystone XL, which will increase our addition to fossil fuels.”
Kieran Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity Executive Director: “Keystone XL promises to spill oil, ruin pristine lands, threaten wildlife and worsen the climate crisis. There’s no way it’s in the national interest and more and more Americans know it. Secretary Kerry and President Obama have a clear choice: Approve Keystone and embrace the climate-killing fossil fuels of the past, or reject Keystone in favor of energy policies that are safer for people, wildlife and a healthy climate.”