You and I know the havoc a tar sands oil spill can wreak in places like Mayflower, Arkansas. We’re all too familiar with the risks facing the people in the path of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Oil industry profits can come at a catastrophic cost, both human and economic. We need President Obama to say no to the Keystone XL Pipeline to put a stop to the source of the problem and avoid the next disaster.
Six months ago, President Obama drew his own line in the tar sands, making it clear that the Keystone XL Pipeline would only be approved if “the project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
Last week, I joined experts in the field of climate science to take an empirical approach to the question, “can Keystone pass the President’s climate test?”
Watch the video:
WATCH: “Can Keystone Pass the President’s Climate Test?”
The answer, we found, is no.
In my talk, I laid out how Keystone XL would unlock the Alberta tar sands, and all of the carbon that comes with it. The project would spur investment in the tar sands and enable the oil industry to ramp up production at an irreversible rate, with potentially devastating impacts on the global climate.
You can watch and share my my presentation here, along with a recap of the full event.
It’s important that President Obama gets the message that Keystone XL is not simply just another oil pipeline, it’s a gateway to the unchecked development of one of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel sources. If approved, it will inevitably exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.
Help us continue this conversation, get the facts, and let your friends know that Keystone XL fails the President’s climate test.
Tell the White House: Don’t silence key advisor John Podesta on the presidential decision on Keystone XL
Apparently in the White House, having common sense now constitutes a conflict of interest.
John Podesta is the highly respected founder of the Center for American Progress and recognized as a uniquely effective chief-of-staff to President Clinton. He announced Tuesday he’ll be going to work as a top advisor to the president.
That should be good news. But because he has a fact-based track record on climate change and has publicly and truthfully criticized the Canadian tar sands for being a highly inefficient and environmentally irreconcilable source of energy, the White House has already announced Podesta will recuse himself from participating in the decision on whether or not to award a foreign oil company the presidential permit necessary to build the Keystone XL pipeline across our northern border.1
It’s simply shameful. Podesta has no financial interest in the Keystone XL decision. Meanwhile, key players allied to the oil industry with massive conflicts of interest are playing a major role in Keystone XL decision making. State Department contractor ERM is writing the key environmental impact statement for the State Department, an analysis on which the White House will base its decision making, despite ERM’s having direct financial ties to TransCanada.
Tell President Obama: If anyone should be recused from discussion of Keystone XL, it’s the ethically compromised ERM, not John Podesta. Don’t silence key White House advisors who tell the truth about tar sands and climate change. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
Oil-industry contractor ERM has direct financial ties to the builder of the Keystone XL pipeline. That’s as direct a conflict of interest as you can get. But instead of recusing ERM from involvement in the decision when this information came to light, the State Department literally attempted to cover it up!2
Podesta will be a valuable advisor on the Keystone XL decision precisely because he doesn’t have compromising ties to the fossil fuel industry. On the contrary, he has issued honest, straight ahead indictments of their worst products. This perspective has been marginalized at high levels of the Obama administration, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that climate change poses serious dangers to our national interest through heat-waves, fires and superstorms, not to mention escalation of overseas conflicts that are exacerbated by drought, devastating floods and the refugee crises they provoke.
That’s why after three years we’re still fighting a pipeline whose approval the president’s own leading climate scientist declared would help lead to “game over for the climate.” This decision, which is President Obama’s alone, should have been a non-starter given President Obama’s previous commitments on climate change and dirty oil.
Far from a radical environmentalist, Podesta has touted a widespread embrace of natural gas – something we disagree with. Still, in a White House that has sorely lacked in prominent climate champions, his employ is a welcome addition. And the decision to silence him on what may be the single most closely watched decision of the Obama presidency is a shameful indication that the White House is not yet ready to face the challenge before us as a generation and embrace the climate leadership he promised and we so desperately need.
Tell President Obama: We need climate leadership in the White House! Let John Podesta speak on the Keystone XL decision. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thanks for taking action.
The petition reads:
“Advisors or contractors with a financial stake in the outcome of Keystone XL – like TransCanada-linked contractor ERM – should recuse themselves from the White House decision on the tar sands pipeline. But a key advisor like John Podesta who has a fact-based track record opposing climate change and raising concerns about Keystone XL should not be silenced now that he has accepted the position of White House counselor. The White House should encourage John Podesta to provide his best counsel in deliberations on the presidential permit TransCanada requires to build Keystone XL.”
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Learn more about this campaign
1. “John Podesta Recuses Himself From Keystone Issue, White House Aide Says,” Reuters, December 11, 2013.
2. Andy Kroll, “EXCLUSIVE: State Dept. Hid Contractor’s Ties to Keystone XL Pipeline Company,” Mother Jones, March 21, 2013.
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