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Home > With Our Environment > KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE


UPDATE: November 6, 2015
Citing negative impact on climate change, President Obama officially rejected construction of the pipeline! This is a victory not only for the earth, but for the power of thousands of people who rallied in over 700 demonstrations over 4 years, and participated in campaigns to stop the pipeline. It goes to show us what is possible when we join forces and mobilize for the common good.

PIPELINE HISTORY (prior to 2/24/15)
Keep informed of developments on this crucial issue. President Obama will likely make a decision about this in the spring. Check out this site from

tar sands
What are tar sands?
Tar sands (oil sands) are a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. Mining and processing of tar sands are energy intensive, and very costly. They also have significant environmental impacts: high greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of wildlife habitat and ecosystems, pollution of air and water. The extraction process requires the use of huge amounts of water, drawing down vital water sources.

What's the Keystone XL Pipeline?
A proposed 1,700 mile pipeline to transport crude oil and other elements from Alberta, Canada, to oil refineries in the U.S.

Oil companies are extremely eager to build this pipeline and are pushing our members of Congress hard to pass legislation to approve this. (Remember that oil companies contribute mega dollars to election campaigns.) They say it will create much-needed American jobs and would be good for the economy. But the Cornell University Global Labor Institute says the pipeline may actually destroy more jobs than it will generate, and that it creates fewer jobs than proponents claim.

NASA's top scientist James Hansen says that exploiting them means 'essentially game over' for the climate. Keystone will ship tar sands oil across critical water supplies and sensitive ecosystems just so it can be exported to foreign markets from refineries in Texas.

The National Resources Defense Council says, "The Keystone XL Pipeline undermines the US commitment to a clean energy economy, instead delivering dirty fuel at high cost." And if you listen to the companies that want to develop this operation and tell us that this system is virtually risk-free, we have only to look at the BP Deep Horizon oil spill disaster to know that nothing is foolproof or safe. Consequences to local people, local economies and the environment can be devastating. This pipeline is supposed to go through our heartland and through the area of one of our biggest aquifers, the Ogallala.

On January 18, 2012, President Obama rejected the proposed plan on the grounds that it has not been adequately evaluated. Certain members of Congress keep trying to get this project approved by adopting strategies such as tacking an approval onto unrelated pieces of legislation.

On February 14 800,000 signatures were gathered from citizens around the country who oppose this project, and presented to Congress. As of February 17 the Senate vote has been delayed.

On March 8 the Senate rejected, by four votes, a bill that would have allowed the pipeline to go forward. This bill came up quickly, tacked on to a larger unrelated bill, so fast response (i.e. calls to Senators) was imperative, and effective. Get on a mailing list of one of the watch groups listed below and you will be notified in time for action. We will update this page as we hear more.

This is an ongoing fight. To us it looks like one more example of corporate power and greed taking priority over what's good for people and the planet. Overall it is just a scam designed to line Big Oil's pockets at our own expense. Read more for yourself. If you oppose this project as we do, or at least want to be sure that it has adequate evaluation, the following organizations are key: Oil Change International, an especially good resource, as well as CREDO, NRDC, and Public Citizen. They will keep you updated and alert you if citizen action is needed.

"The Dirtiest Fuel in the World"
Keystone and Climate Change
Flaws in Evaluation Process