A coalition of 89 Big Green environmental groups is urging President Obama to reject Canada's efforts to secure U.S. approval for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would bring millions of barrels of oil extracted from Canadian shale formations.
In their letter, the anti-oil groups based their case on these arguments:
"When filled to capacity, Keystone XL would import up to 900,000 barrels per day of the world’s dirtiest form of oil and open a new economic drain to send more of our money to Canada.
"The pipeline would drive further destruction of Canada’s boreal forest, bring the threat of dangerous oil spills through America’s heartland, exacerbate air quality problems in communities surrounding the refineries that the pipeline would service, and significantly increase the carbon intensity of U.S. transportation fuel, which would undercut the emissions reductions achieved by increasing U.S. automobile efficiency.
"Keystone XL would transport some of the most corrosive and acidic oil in the world through sensitive lands and aquifers that provide drinking water and a way of life for millions.
"Already, TransCanada is using eminent domain against farmers and landowners who do not want a dangerous pipeline on their own properties. It’s time to stop giving a free pass to oil companies to increase profits at the expense of Americans.
"TransCanada’s own analysis even says the “strategy [with Keystone XL] would be intended to raise the price” of Canadian oil, especially in the Midwest, to increase oil company profits. America does not need this dangerous and expensive pipeline."
You can read the full letter here on Politico. It's release was timed to coincide with Canadian Prime Minister Stephan Harper's meeting Friday with President Obama. The issue of the pipeline approvals was expected to be a major topic of discussion at that gathering.
The letter from the anti-pipeline coalition drew a sharp response from Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, who accused the group of opposing the pipeline as part of their continuing efforts to force the costs of fossil fuel energy resources for American consumers higher:
“Canada is our nation’s number one trading partner. Tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S. have been created by development of our ally and neighbor Canada's oil sands.
"As our greatest supplier of petroleum products, we rely every day on the affordable, reliable energy that flows from the north to fuel our cars, heat our homes, and keep our economy running.
"While the Obama Administration refuses to issue permits here in the United States to develop our vast energy resources, relying on Canada for oil imports prevents our further dependence on more hostile foreign nations where civil unrest and dictatorships are more likely to disrupt production.
“Unfortunately, anti-energy groups here in the U.S. are treating Canada as if they are one of those hostile foreign nations. In their letter to President Obama, they urged him to prevent the Keystone XL Pipeline project from being built.
"Disregarding the mutually beneficial nature of the project, the well-paying jobs it would create, and the badly-needed economic boon it would provide for our suffering economy, these anti-energy activists condemn the pipeline as ‘dangerous’ and ‘unnecessary’.
"Instead, they claim that expanded mass transit and forcing Americans to buy electric cars is a more sensible solution.
“The opposition of environmentalists to the Keystone XL pipeline underscores their desire to increase the price of energy and increase our use of energy from unstable regimes.
"The Department of Energy recently reported that with the Keystone XL delivering oil to America, we could dramatically reduce our oil imports from the Middle East, which is exactly why environmentalists want to stop the Pipeline.
"We need affordable, reliable energy. The Keystone XL pipeline would provide that. We applaud Prime Minister Harper for standing up for Americans and trying to bolster our energy supplies.
"Now the only thing that stands in the way of providing affordable, reliable energy to Americans is the Obama administration and their continuing war on affordable, reliable energy.”
Expect this issue to take on major importance in the months ahead as the effects of the Obama moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for roughly a third of all U.S. oil and natural gas supplies, begins to be felt at the consumer level in the form of significantly higher gasoline prices.
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