Environmental activists delivered nearly two million public comments opposing the Keystone XL pipeline to Secretary of State John Kerry at the U.S. State Department earlier today. The final 30 day public comment period is now closed. The rally was called "Delivering Our National Interest Determination: No Keystone XL!" because at this point in the Presidential Permit review process the focus will be on whether the proposed project serves the national interest. Calling KXL "dirty and dangerous," activists make the case that the project clearly does not serve the national interest and will spell "game over for the climate" as NASA's former chief climate scientist James Hansen has stated in the past.
“People all across the country are concerned about this pipeline because it’s going to pollute the water. Because it’s going set off catastrophic climate change. Because it’s a security risk,” Whit Jones, campaign director at Energy Action Coalition, one of the organizers of the rally, told Inhabitat. “We’re all coming together today to decisively send the message to Secretary Kerry and President Obama that our country is united to stop this pipeline and we expect them to.”
The State Department’s recently released Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the 2012 Presidential Permit application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline was found by a study to have downplayed the significance of increased Canadian tar sands extraction. Activists claim that the report underestimates the rise in greenhouse gas emissions from the tar sands development as a result of KXL.
The Keystone XL page on State.gov states that factors to be considered include “energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic impacts; foreign policy; and compliance with relevant federal regulations and issues.” The State Department will consult with the Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency. While the final decision rests with President Obama, John Kerry is expected to encourage him to either approve or reject KXL.
“We hope that Secretary Kerry will advise president Obama to not allow this pipeline to go through,” said Jones.
Images via Josh Marks