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Keystone XL
6 years ago

Please sign this petition regarding the latest developments on Keystone XL. Time is short on this, so please do this ASAP.


The background on the petition is as follows:


"The Senate is about to reverse President Obama's courageous decision last month to say no to the dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

As early as Tuesday, they may vote to greenlight construction of the pipeline without any environmental or economic review.


That's why for the next 24 hours dozens of organizations from across our movement are joining together to collect and deliver 500,000 messages to the Senate.


President Obama's decision to stand up to oil industry lobbyists, and threats from Republicans, was a huge win for both people-powered organizing and for fighting climate change. Heavy tar sands oil creates three times more carbon pollution than conventional oil.


Sign the petition and tell the Senate not to undercut the president's bold stand against the Keystone XL pipeline and dirty energy lobbyists.


A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to the U.S. Senate leadership."


I will add more petition links from other organizations, as I find them, and anyone else is welcome to do so, as well.

6 years ago

Every one of them signed. Better not flip/flop on this one Obama

6 years ago

I just saw an email from about this, and there were 506,000 total signatures from the combined efforts of the organizations within 9 hours.


It would be a disaster for him not to put his foot down on this.

6 years ago

Here's a link for a letter to your Senators (based on the zip code you enter), through Common Cause, asking them to make sure the pipeline is not approved without the proper evaluation process.

6 years ago

I am signing these petitions, which as I understand it, the goal was to get 500,000 signatures. So if I sign one from each organization, is my name being counted multiple times?

6 years ago

I haven't been able to find out if it counts them separately or if it combines the lists with duplicates eliminated, but either way, I like to show my support through various organizations whose views I share.


The one I added today, from Common Cause, is separate from the petition and specifically sends the letter to the appropriate Senators.

6 years ago

It looks like the petition is closed now, with a total of 793,000 signatures.


Please still make sure to send the letter to your Senators, if you have not done so already.


Thanks to all helping out on this important issue!

6 years ago

I signed petitions with Common Cause before I heard of Care2. I became connected with Care2 through petition site.
I've signed most of my petitions through Democrats-petitions to support Nancy Pelosi and the AMA. If you are concerned about health care-do a search for the MedPage by the AMA. Their petitions don't attack the far right or support Obama. Everything that's done is to break down a goofus bill into pieces and mount opposition against each ridiculous segment of a bill based on health care. They provide phone numbers to call about each issue they raise, along with a petition.
Back to Keystone- they just won't quit and I worry about Obama-I just don't trust him. I have several thoughts about his flip flops. #1-He feels pressure on becoming a great Black Statesman-remember part of his campaign was in bringing America together-healing the political division. That probably explains why he gives in-like England and France gave in to Hitler. #2- I think that he's too young and inexperienced. #3-Reasonable people get pushed around because they expect every one else to be reasonable. #4-He doesn't seem to think things through-look at the catholics and contraception. #5-He doesn't seem to listen to people outside of his Chicago group-look how he didn't pay attention to Biden and other Catholics. #6- He seems to have a small world view-again look at the catholic birth control issue.
If sarah Palin hadn't been McCain's VP-I would have voted for him and let the Republicans sort out Bush's mess. Some friends got mad at me for saying that, but at least the Democratic party probably would have grown and we wouldn't be in these non-issues-like the stupid birthers. My son keeps asking- How can they (Republicans) be so mean and hateful?
I hate having a president where we have to keep his feet near the fire-protesting, pushing to try to get him to do what he said.

6 years ago

Thank you Seth, gladly sign no ketstone XL pipe ine

6 years ago

Mary D., sorry but as a recovering Catholic I have to disagree with you on the Catholic/birth control issue. A couple of reasons:  1) Over 90% of Catholics use contraceptives. 2) If any religion wants to insert itself in politics I believe they should lose their tax-exempt status.



6 years ago

Mary, I mentioned that I like to sign petitions or send letters through a variety of organizations I share views with, but it's also important to pay attention to various issues even if you share some common views; I don't agree with everything every organization sends, and I don't sign/send, if I do disagree with them. It's just a matter of diligence.


I don't think there's much concern about Obama flip-flopping on this issue, and I don't think he's flip-flopped much on any issues, since he's been in office, although he's had to make concessions, at times, when it's been impossible to get legislation passed as he wanted it. Regarding the KXL, Obama hasn't really taken that strong a stand either way, and if anything, I think he's leaned against it, unless there's evidence that it can be built and operated safely, in which case, he'd support it as a way to create jobs, as I think most people would. However, I think many of us against it know that if it does undergo sufficient review, it's not likely to pass muster, and once evidence can be shown that its risks outweigh the rewards, I think it would be tough for anyone to support it without risking their reputation. That's why those in favor of it want it pushed through without review, because then they can keep selling it as a way to get more local petroleum to us, instead of relying on the Middle East, and as a way to create jobs.


I don't doubt that he'd support the review process, and once it inevitably is determined to be unsafe, that it won't create a lot of jobs, that we won't even get any of it, and that it will be incredibly dirty to process and use, then I don't see Obama showing any kind of support for it. It's hard to blame a guy for being skeptical, especially when he has to play the middle ground to maintain broad support.


As far as the thoughts you mentioned, I don't think he has any delusions or improper hopes for greatness, and I don't think it's racially motivated at all. Quite the opposite, I think his concessions and compromises have been necessary because of the movement against him, and that has absolutely had some racial motivation behind it, along with some sour grapes when the Republicans lost the Presidency under which Bush was so charitable to the rich.


I don't think the youth and inexperience are huge strikes against him, either, as he has shown some wisdom and capability in spite of the opposition. If anything, I think he's been too diplomatic early on, but he's moved away from that, and his effectiveness and support have benefited from the change. I went into some detail about this on the thread about the payroll tax cut. As much as he used to play nice with the Republicans when they instructed him, he finally started calling them out about it, and this has gained him support at the same time it's cost the ones blocking his actions. He's also communicated better so that people can understand the issues and why he wants it his way and why the Republicans' way would not benefit them as well.


For the contraception issue, I think he played it well; he ultimately gave in to have it administered by the insurance companies, but the employers have no right to block this because, as Kathy said, even among Catholics, there are many women who use birth control, and just because they work for a Catholic employer, they shouldn't be excluded from the same coverage every other woman gets. This is far from an imposition on those companies; they were the ones looking to impose their absolutist beliefs on the women. For that matter, what about women working for those hospitals, universities, etc. that aren't even Catholic? Why should the employer have any right to disallow them that coverage on the basis of a singular interpretation of a religion that those women don't even practice?


I understand your concern about the old Mr. Nice Guy that he was, but since he's started showing more authority, he's come across as a much stronger leader, and I doubt he'll seem as fickle in the future, if recent events are any indication.

6 years ago

Here's a result email I got about this from Public Citizen:


"It’s amazing what can be achieved in a day.

With tremendous support from grassroots activists across the nation, we blew past our goal of 500,000 signatures within the first 6 hours!

By the end of the 24-hour push to mobilize supporters and activists to speak out against Keystone XL, more than 793,000 signatures had been collected on the petition demanding the Senate reject efforts to fast track the tar sands pipeline.

Check out the final petition.

Yesterday afternoon, every one of those signatures was hand-delivered (see photo) to Congress.

The outpouring of support generated over the 24 hours represents not just a blow against the pipeline, but also a call to reject Big Oil’s relentless lobbying machine.

President Obama heeded our call last month in rejecting the pipeline, but Republicans in Congress — heavily influenced by the oil industry — are determined to push it through.

With your help we will continue to fight this project and Big Oil every step of the way.

Learn more about why the tar sands pipeline is bad for America:


Thanks for all you do,

Allison Fisher
Outreach Director
Public Citizen’s Climate and Energy Program"


The petition ended up getting over 802,000 signatures.


Thanks to everyone who signed!

6 years ago

All petitions gladly signed. Thanks Seth.

6 years ago

My senator, Dick Lugar (R), has TV ads running right now for a petition that tries to reverse Obama's decision on the Keystone pipeline. It makes me sick everytime I see it, saying Obama has killed 20,000 jobs and that the pipeline would help national security. I hate seeing this kind of BS on TV and not seeing any type of counter ad that would help uninformed people better understand this issue. 

6 years ago

Their is 802,180 signatures and growing  on Keystone XL....! Bravo........!

6 years ago

Megan, I agree about the need for someone to fund a campaign to get the truth out there to counter the lies.


I posted another thread in here before about the petroleum industry's own ad campaign supporting the pipeline, including their "scientific" claims from "experts" that were actually funded by the industry themselves.


However, even using the numbers they gave for what they currently spend and how many the industry employs, and it showed that a lot of the jobs that would be created were very low-paying part-time and temporary positions.


Even the 20,000 number they keep giving (some inflate this even higher) has been shot down through various studies and articles that have been published, including this one from Care2 back in November.


They fail to account for jobs that could be lost, which would profoundly affect the net job creation, and even among the construction jobs, as many would not be local, there would likely be many temporary workers, and if some of the same ones work different segments of the pipeline, they would be counted multiple times, reducing the actual number of people employed as less than the number of jobs created.

6 years ago

Seth - You're not saying that the big oil companies would actually try to deceive the sheeple of this country and distort the figures, are you?


Sadly, we're all preaching to the choire and what really needs to happen is some major money being spent somehow for national ads to counter the Oil Companie's BS. Hopefully, that will somehow come about along with all the petitions that we sign and justice and sanity will win out in the long run.


I totally commend Obama for being as strong as he's been able to be under the never ending attacks from the GREEDY OBSTRUCTIONIST PARTY. Hopefully he can maintain his strength and veto whatever the PARTY OF NO throws at him.

6 years ago

Another disingenuous way they have inflated the job number for the Xtra Leaky is to count each job twice - once for each of the 2 years they expect to be in construction.


Their latest sneaky, underhanded, spiteful & mean tactic is to try to take the Emergency Oil Reserve hostage unless the pipeline is approved.




6 years ago

Thanks Kathy for the post and link. Truly unbelievable, and these greedy idiots are supposed to be working for the "good" of our country! If I wasn't so opposed to violence, I would almost love seeing them tar and feathered. NOT, but it was almost a nice thought. They truly deserve to, at the very least, be kicked out of office and treated as the traitors they are.

6 years ago

It's interesting to ponder, and not necessarily much of a stretch, but there very well could be a case to be made for sedition against these senators for that act, considering the benefit it serves not only to hostile nations, such as Iran, but even to a nation we would normally consider an ally (Canada) which is trying to coerce us into allowing their companies to build this pipeline.


Coupled with the significant negative impact against our own citizens, and considering that under the current economic situation, such a financial impact could affect our people just as profoundly as actual acts of violence, this really does make these Republican Senators appear very much to be enemies of the United States people and our way of life.

6 years ago

I live in a conservative catholic area-no I'm not a Southie. I don't like Obama backing down-He did come up with a plan that insurance companies provide birth control for those that work for religious groups against birth control. He should have done this first-and then never back down- These zealots-of which I'm not one-think that their prayers were answered because Obama backed down-and like addicts they are on a roll. My mother is like that. While I don't want people of her ilk telling us how to live-they have a right to live the way they want to. I've seen catholic women from other states say that the Bishops and Vatican is out of touch with women-I agree-

I'm entitled to my opinions about Obama-which to me are reasons to fight harder on the local level to increase the amount of Democrats in Congress- and the state legislatures. Kennedy was young-but he'd been involved in federal politics a lot longer-Obama was inexperienced-he's had on the job trainning-but I'm entitled to my opinion that we need to keep his feet to the fire. I saw what he did in signing the bill that gave the military free rein to arrest and dissapear Americans which is the opposite of shutting down Guantamino-which was part of his presidential platform.

Seth, I know that you choose what you do and try to pick the best fights-the most righteous to fight for liberty and a strong nation- You have my vote.

6 years ago

All petitions signed, except the one from Rainforest Action Network, which is no longer available. Thanks for the posts, Seth!

6 years ago

Thanks, Mary, and not meaning to pick any fights with you since I know we're on the same side here.


My point was basically just that Obama hasn't waffled so much as compromised, and although he hasn't yet met some campaign promises, it hasn't been without a fight (his entire term, so far, has been one endless fight with the Regressives obstructing his every move), and he actually has accomplished a number of things, in spite of the opposition.


The Keystone XL issue is a tricky one because it has bi-partisan support, mostly because of the claims of the numbers of jobs that can be created. Because of that, the best way Obama could handle it, so that he doesn't turn off voters who think he's killing jobs, is to maintain a neutral stance on it as long as possible, even expressing some optimism about the job numbers to show his understanding of the stakes, but once a decision absolutely has to be made, he should insist on the appropriate impact studies being done, showing potential for environmental hazards, the amount of public investment, including any tax breaks, the potential impact on gas prices, and actual job creation numbers, appropriately offset by the number of jobs that could be lost from the closure of businesses in the path of the pipeline.


By showing the willingness to compromise by at least agreeing to the impact study, it appeases the supporters and makes him look less like the bad guy.


Then, when the study inevitably proves all our concerns, it will do so with firm numbers, and when these are presented to the public, the support will fall away in a hurry, leaving only those with greedy, malicious intents continuing to push for it, but nothing could possibly protect them from public opinion when everyone knows the truth.


If he jumps right out against it, then he'll be the one losing support, however, because unfortunately, there are still too many people out there who believe that this would be a good thing.


I have no problem with seeing this handled diplomatically, as long as it's done right. We know this is a bad idea, but selling it to the rest of the country will require a bit more effort and some proof to convince them. That would be far better than turning this into another public fight where the Republicans paint Obama as the bad guy who divides the country instead of serving their needs.

6 years ago

Seth - You are so right on in realizing what's going on here and knowing how important it is to handle this issue in the wisest manner, which it truly appears Obama is doing. It is a little hard to trust that sanity will win out in the long run as we know how much pressure is being placed on Obama, and how much money and power is behind that money.


Still, he's our only hope, and defense, against this madness. I totally support him in this endeavor and trust, as best I can, that he will not cave on this issue. Certainly the more signatures we have on our petitions, the better, as a big part of his focus is on re-election, and he needs to know the public is demanding sanity here.


Thank you for being such a voice of reason, and for all you do to make a positive change and protect our precious environment.


Keep up the great work,


6 years ago

I hope Obama continues to show strength and resolve. I know the political climate is impossible, but compromising with these guys has gotten him no where.

6 years ago

Thanks Seth, not just for all the petitions, which of course I signed (most I've already signed and a few others that every org under the sun has with me on their mailing list!LOL) but you had a few there that hadn't seen and I duplicated others, and also to you Kathy, thanks for your input and petition.
You're very patient and articulate Seth, I appreciate that. I have some difficulties with Obama, I'll probably not vote for him - the straw for me was not just the NDAA about which I was appalled, and the fact that there is still renditions going on, but also his SOTU stated an undeniable intention of allowing fracking to be a part of his energy plan.
I wish the NYS/Delaware River Basin proposed fracking was given as much attention as the "tarsands xl", I think it is more dangerous to far more human life than tarsands. IMHO
Thanks for all you do!

6 years ago

Thanks very much for your hard work and for putting things into perspective. I signed the one petition that accepted Canadian signatures. We are also fighting a pipeline issue up here that would see the crude piped out to the west coast putting envoronmentally sensitive areas at risk. Good luck with this. We so need a complete overhaul of our political systems.

6 years ago

Thanks to everyone for the support on these.


Lee, As with KXL, I think the best way for Obama to handle the fracking is to play it diplomatically.


The second he comes right out and says no to either of these, he alienates a lot of people who think he's killing jobs, but if he gives an appearance of initial support, allowing word to get out to educate the public about how bad these are, then the public support will end up swinging against the projects, so if he turns his support against them then, he'll look better for it, and the people continuing to push the projects will look like the bad guys.

6 years ago

A new wrinkle in Xtra Leaky activism – the Tea Party. Their reasons are a bit different, but I can’t say I disagree with them.


6 years ago

I had forgotten about that, but I saw something about that a while ago, too. They're basically playing the "hands off my land" card, but they must be so conflicted opposing something that the right likes so much, especially since the TP saints, the Koch brothers, are behind the push in the first place, and supporting something that us nutty lib enviro folks are against, even if it's for a different reason.

6 years ago

Thanks Seth, I hope that's the agenda on the O thought policy! He seemed very outspoken in some of his stump speeches around the country, esp. about the number of jobs and the "hundred" years worth of energy we're standing on right now!
As for the TP's - I read about that from another source - what strange bedfellows - I guess with the help of some viagra we could at least get one common piece of agenda taken care of!

6 years ago

In reading comments to articles regarding the TPers, I am wondering if there aren't different 2 seperate factions. The fake grassroots movement supported by Koch and another movement that isn't supported by the evil duo.


Either that or there are some people who are clueless about who they have thrown there lot in with, and/or don't really know about the Koch agenda.


There are those who claim that a coffee can is passed around during meetings & that they get no outside financial support.

6 years ago

It's more a combination of the two.


There were numerous factions of the Tea Party, just as there are separate Occupy establishments, and while they tend to be unified overall, there may be slight differences in the relevance of certain issues to those from certain backgrounds and in different areas.


Initially, the Kochs, Grover Norquist, and some of the other shadowy figures behind the scenes gave a push to the what appeared to be a grassroots movement by putting out bits of propaganda that catered to the fears of those who may have felt disenfranchised and fearful because of the crumbling economy and ongoing wars, or even those who were simply uncomfortable with the newly-elected black president, and it just grew from there with broad support, but as the movement started to gel, some left as they saw the politics to be leaning so far to the right, and of those who stayed, they saw a need to establish actual groups that could be more organized in their efforts.


I think the results of that are part of the reason for Occupy trying not to form such formal groups with established leadership and instead trying to be more focused on uniting behind common issues, especially seeing the mess that the Tea Party started to become once this happened.


All told, while they certainly backed the initial formation by artificially stimulating it with their propaganda, I think the way the movement continued to grow resulted in the type of fissure that would cause some to completely oppose other Tea Partiers on the same issue.


The funny thing is that they both follow Tea Party logic in backing their views, with one side being protective of their property against authorities, and the other being staunchly pro-business and anti-regulation. This certainly exposes the flaws in that logic and how it doesn't follow what would be the right thing to do but rather the rhetoric that the puppetmasters feed the masses of their movement.

6 years ago

FYI: Obama's campaign people have started an email list called Truth Team, with articles to educate the public about various issues.


If you go to or you can sign up to receive these emails.


The one I got today includes such articles as "Romney Flips On Earmarks", "Santorum's Big Budget Plans", "Rubio's Contraception Plan", "'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt'" (note the quotation marks as this is critical of Romney and Santorum stating that we should not have bailed out the auto industry), "Keeping His Word On Hate Crimes", and "Recovery Act Anniversary."

6 years ago

This one seems to have come out of left field, considering that Obama himself said that drilling wasn't going to get us out of our current crisis, and after saying that he was not going to approve the pipeline without an impact study:


"Yesterday, the White House applauded news that TransCanada would go forward with building the southern leg of Keystone XL, promising to help expedite the permits necessary to complete the pipeline's route from Cushing, Okla. to the refineries and shipping ports of Port Arthur, Texas.

Breaking up the pipeline in this way is quite simply TransCanada's latest end run around the State Department's formal review process.

President Obama's support for the southern leg isn't a surprise -- he specifically mentioned this project as he was rejecting the full pipeline last month based on insufficient time to conduct a thorough review.

But it is deeply disappointing that, just a month later, he would signal a willingness to backtrack on even that minimal condition, saying he would "take every step possible to expedite the necessary federal permits."

The southern portion of Keystone XL carries the same risks of oil spills on American water and soil, and brings the tar sands carbon bomb one big step closer to being unleashed across the world. President Obama must insure that the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers do not cut any corners in evaluating this project, and consider it's full impacts on the climate.

Tell President Obama: Don't expedite approval of the southern leg of Keystone XL or cut any corners to force this project through."


This is currently showing only 16,000 and change out of their target of 25,000, so please sign and forward.

6 years ago

Seth, the news last night here said their talking about tapping into reserve oil well that have been capped to lower the cost of gas. That I will believe when I see it happen. Their are so many in the Gulf of Mexico by the hundreds and no tell how many countless their are in South Texas. The First time we had a gas/oil shortage in 86, their was no shortage what so ever. I grew up and even worked in the oilfield most of my life.

If the Keystone XL Pipeline was built, prices would remain the same or hgher and we Don't need another Alaskan Pipeline like the one my Uncle was a headlead weilder on.

6 years ago

Thank you Seth which I gladly signed the petition with pride as well as noted

6 years ago

All signed gladly.


NOTE: The Rain Forest Action Network is no longer ACTIVE for petition signing.

6 years ago

Thanks, Jon.


Some of those petitions were only active during the big push a couple weeks ago, but I only got this most recent one today.


One of the big problems, and Kathy posted an article about it before, is that the Republicans are playing games with the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, basically attempting to hold it hostage to force Obama's hand on KXL.


Here's more about that:


This is going to take a lot more effort to fight.

6 years ago

And I thank you Seth and all those who are trying to push these petitions. Through Unity, friendship and careing as we all work as a team, we can make this happen in faith. Don't give up on hope as this is a sticky time with Keystone XL pipeline. As we all know and have experienced in the past, The bottom can fall out in the oilfield over night. I have seen it happen and it's not a beautiful sight. We need to put our foot down on Big Oil and those who have put oil in the campain votes where they stand and were not going to take it anymore. Were Made as Hell, right, lol. Seth, you do an outstanding job, Bravo to you...........

6 years ago

Obama is being discrimnated against with the Keystone Pipeline being a weapon against him as a forced issue to surrender to Big Oil. Hope he Stands his grounds and puts Big Oil where they belong cause were tired of paying their taxes.

6 years ago

I’m not sure how much more abuse this poor planet can take.


Obama may just be using TransCanada to move oil to refineries, which is a short-term solution to alleviate a problem.


What I’m not seeing is much real progress made on renewable energy.  I’m against bio-fuels, using cropland to grow (genetically modified crops) for fuel isn’t going to put food on people’s plates, and genetically engineering algae is scary – at least to me.


Here is NRDC’s take on splitting the project.


And just how is an Canadian company able to claim eminent domain? That’s just wrong!


6 years ago

I need to do some digging because I remember hearing a breakdown of the deal with the eminent domain, but I can't remember the specifics. It may not be possible to do anyway, although there are ways around it, but even those have some big issues that need to be worked out first.


I agree about the biofuel problem because even if they don't use GMOs, this could have a negative impact on food production; I remember something from a few years ago that so much corn was being used for ethanol that it drove up direct prices for corn and corn products, as well as indirect prices, such as for meat from animals that are fed corn.


As far as algae, even if it's not engineered in any way, it's been shown to produce far too much carbon, when converted to fuel and burned, for it to have any practical use as a biofuel source. Incidentally, I've heard that biofuels from hemp have similar issues in producing more carbon from emissions than biofuels from other materials.

6 years ago

The article I read before that mentioned eminent domain was "Obama's Pipeline Limbo" by Jeff Goodell, from the December 8, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone, but it's only available online to subscribers.


I still have a copy of the issue, so I've transcribed a few key excerpts from it here. Please note that this is not the entire article, but as it goes into more detail about the people mentioned in these excerpts and about the ongoing political battle, I've included only these sections that cover some more specific facts about the pipeline, ensuring to keep them in contextual accuracy, as given in the article:


"...scientists warned, the amount of carbon locked up in the tar sands - 230 billion tons - would be more than enough, if burned, to spike global warming to catastrophic levels. James Hansen, NASA's leading climate scientist, predicted that if Keystone went through, it would be "game over" for the planet. "The pipeline became more than an environmental or energy issue," says Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. "It was almost a philosophical referendum on who we are as Americans, and what we care about."


"Although most Americans don't know it, the U.S. gets more oil from Canada than it does from the entire Middle East. Of the 9 million barrels of oil we import each day, 2 million come from Canada - half of them from a vast expanse in Alberta called the tar sands. Most of the major oil companies have operations there, including two of the biggest funders of the climate disinformation machine, ExxonMobil and Koch Industries, the Kansas-based refining and pipeline operation that handles 25 percent of the tar sands oil currently heading into America.

Extracting oil from the tar sands is a nasty, polluting, energy-intensive business. To get at the tar sands, oil companies must first cut down huge tracts of the boreal forests that cover Alberta before deploying huge, industrial-scale shovels and draglines to dig up the tar sand itself - a black goo that resembles roof tar mixed with beach sand. After dumping the goo in enormous vats of superhot water to separate out the sand and skim off the oil, refiners use an expensive and complex process called hydrocracking to turn the thick, sulfury gunk into gasoline or diesel. Finally, all the water and sand left over from the process - laden with heavy metals and toxins - is pumped into giant holding areas that form massive lakes of toxic sludge. In Alberta, all this takes place on a scale so large that it can be seen from space; the "lakes" of sludge alone are among the largest human-built projects in the world. It has also wreaked enormous environmental destruction in Canada: killing off scores of migrating ducks, polluting local water supplies and coinciding with an alarming increase in cancer rates for indigenous people who live downstream from the tar sands operations.

Right now, the tar sands produce some 1.5 million barrels of oil a day - but by 2030, oil producers in Alberta hope to double that output. There's only one problem: The tar sands are land-locked. Unlike Saudi Arabia, where oil can be quickly and easily transported to the sea, the tar sands are transported to market through an extensive network of pipelines. And with the Midwest currently experiencing an oil glut, thanks to a boom in shale oil, Canada's tar sands can receive top dollar only if they're transported all the way to the Gulf Coast, where they can be refined and shipped overseas. The Keystone XL pipeline, in effect, was a way for oil companies to leapfrog the United States by digging a four-foot-deep trench and laying a three-foot-wide steel pipe nearly 2,000 miles long to get their product from Canada to Europe and Asia.

"The pipeline was absolutely central to the industry's expansion plans," says Lorne Stockman, reasearch director at Oil Change International, a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C. One market analysis conducted for TransCanada predicted that the pipeline would nearly double annual revenuesfrom the tar sands to $3.9 billion by 2013. TransCanada itself would profit from Keystone by securing a stranglehold on the flow of oil out of Alberta, charging a tariff of about $7 for each barrel shipped down the pipeline."


Even before it rigged the State Department assessment in Washington, TransCanada dispatched representatives throughout the Midwest to buy right-of-way easements along the pipeline route in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. In 2007, a TransCanada rep contacted Randy Thompson, a 64-year-old cattle rancher and proud Republican, and asked to meet him at his 400-acre spread in southern Nebraska. As it turned out, messing with Thompson was a huge mistake.

When the rep arrived, he told Thompson that TransCanada was going to run the pipeline across his land, and offered to pay him $9,000 for a 100-year easement. Thompson was alarmed when he saw that the pipeline would be sunk four feet deep - directly in the water table. "They would be burying the pipeline right in my water supply," he says. "Even a small spill or leak would ruin my land."

TransCanada warned Thompson that if he didn't sell them the right of way, the company would seize his land under eminent domain. "I told them to take a hike," Thompson says. But the scare tactic worked on other ranchers, who signed away their property for the pipeline. The move pissed Thompson off: In Nebraska, foreign corporations are not allowed to seize property until they have a federal permit in hand. "These deals were made under false pretenses," says David Domina, a Nebraska attorney representing ranchers against TransCanada. "They will not stand up in court, which would find them invalid."


continued in next post...

6 years ago

...continued from previous post

"But what really turned Thompson against the pipeline was TransCanada's callous disregard for the environment. The company elected to route Keystone directly through the Sand Hills, a sensitive region that even die-hard conservatives in Nebraska believe should be left untouched. A spill in the Sand Hills, where the soil is extremely porous, could be devastating to the nation's most important agricultural aquifer. John Stansbury, a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Nebraska, found that even a tiny, undetected leak from an underground rupture could contaminate almost 5 billion gallons of drinking water with dangerous levels of benzene, a known carcinogen.
Spills, in fact, are all too common on the nation's pipelines: Since 1990, according to federal regulators, there have been at least 100 "significant" spills on pipelines every year that have released 110 million gallons of hazardous waste. The Keystone I had so many spills - a dozen in its first year alone - that it had to be temporarily shut down. Last July, a pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy dumped nearly a million gallons of tar sand sludge into the Kalamazoo River. Estimated cleanup costs: $700 million."

"To counter such [referring to protests against the pipeline, specifically in Nebraska] opposition, TransCanada preyed on the public's economic security, claiming that the pipeline would create 20,000 jobs in construction and manufacturing, plus an additional 118,000 spinoff jobs that would inject $20 billion into the U.S. economy. Fox News went even further, suggesting that the pipeline "could provide up to a million new high-paying jobs" in the U.S. The numbers came from a report by a Texas consulting operation called the Perryman Group - which, upon closer inspection, turned out to be little more than an ex-professor from Southern Methodist University who accepted funding from TransCanada for predicting a jobs boom. The State Department, by contrast, estimated that building the pipeline would emply no more than 6,000 construction workers - and that one the Keystone was finished, the number of permanent pipeline jobs could be as few as 50.
As for the idea that the pipeline would increase America's energy security: Much of the tar sands shipped to Texas would likely wind up overseas. Valero, one of the biggest refiners contracted to buy the oil from the pipeline, already exports six percent of its gasoline and 18 percent of its diesel, mostly to South America. What's more, the most profitable market for refiners right now is selling diesel to Europe. "For the refiners, this is all about buying low-cost tar sands crude and selling it into high-profit markets in the European Union," says Stockman, the researcher at Oil Change International. "This oil is not going to replace oil from the Middle East. That's not the way the global oil market works. This is not an instead of - it's an as well as." The Keystone pipeline, in short, wouldn't increase our energy independence - it would just further fuel our oil addiction."

6 years ago

Very heartbreaking to hear more and more of the details about this horrible technology, bassed totally on greed and selfishness! Thank you for all your efforts Seth.

6 years ago

More action for one of the many battles we must fight:


"Recently we saw just how far Big Oil will go to win approval of its marquee project -- the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline -- and protect its profits. Last Monday, TransCanada announced that it will split the pipeline into two segments and move to construct the southern leg, from Cushing, Oklahoma through Texas to the Gulf Coast.

We’ve always known that TransCanada will stop at nothing to resurrect Keystone XL, including employing this piecemeal gimmick to try to circumvent the State Department’s review process and decades-old environmental law.

What was more outrageous was President Obama’s complete about-face: Little more than a month after rejecting the presidential permit for Keystone XL and insisting on a full review process, he applauded TransCanada’s latest ploy and gave his assurance that his administration would “take every step possible to expedite the necessary federal permits.”

Tell President Obama not to walk back on his word: Don’t expedite approval of the southern segment of Keystone XL pipeline or cut any corners in the review process for this dirty and dangerous pipeline.

No matter how TransCanada tries to slice it up, this pipeline would be an environmental disaster. The southern segment of the pipeline would still worsen air pollution in refinery communities along the Gulf Coast and threaten our heartland with costly spills -- and it would still expand the market for toxic tar sands oil, fueling more pollution of our already overburdened climate.

What’s more, President Obama is essentially helping TransCanada trample over the rights of landowners along the path of the pipeline, landowners like Julia Trigg Crawford1 in Texas. TransCanada is using eminent domain to seize private property from Julia Trigg and other landowners just to expand its hefty bottom line.

Americans deserve a transparent, rigorous review for any project that would threaten our climate and people's health. Tell President Obama today that the administration shouldn’t be promising to fast-track Keystone XL, it should publicly reject it.

President Obama must stop trying to have it both ways. He can’t purport to protect the climate while simultaneously shilling for one of the dirtiest industries on Earth.

In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama said, “I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.” Now he’s promising to Big Oil that he’ll help shepherd its dirty and dangerous pet project to an “expedited” approval? That’s about as far as you can get from the promise of clean energy.

Leading on clean energy means closing the door on pressure from Big Oil, staying strong on the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and standing up for real, lasting climate solutions. Tell the president to publicly reject this pipeline, not to cave into TransCanada’s latest scheme.

We’re still working out the best ways to beat back this newest attack by TransCanada, but rest assured that with your help we’ll continue to fight them every step of the way.

Kim Huynh, Dirty fuels campaigner
Friends of the Earth"


[1] "Texas Farmer Takes On TransCanada" Mother Jones, March 1, 2012.

6 years ago

And another:


"Republican senators are now pushing an amendment to a massive transportation bill that would allow for the immediate construction and operation of the dangerous Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline. A vote on the amendment is expected this week, so please -- contact your senators right now and ask them to oppose the Keystone XL amendment.

If built, the 1,700-mile pipeline would transport up to 35 million gallons of oil every day from Canada's tar sands -- one of the dirtiest energy sources in the world -- to refineries in Texas, where it could be exported to global markets.

The pipeline would increase our dependence on the fossil fuels driving global warming and directly threaten pristine wildlife habitat, freshwater supplies for millions of people and at least 20 endangered species, including whooping cranes and pallid sturgeons.

Please ask your senators to stand up against the Keystone XL amendment now."


Click here to find out more and take action.
6 years ago

up to date

6 years ago

Here's another one to note and sign. The petition is from the Center for Biological Diversity and directed to the U.S. Senate.


Thanks, as always!

6 years ago

Great news! The pipeline's been at least temporarily defeated once again. THANKS TO OBAMA pushing for it to not go through! I deeply appreciate Obama's support to prevent this horrible, devastating, project. I love the fact that

Obama personally lobbied wavering Democrats to block passage of the amendment.

The Senate narrowly rejected a GOP-sponsored measure that would have bypassed the Obama administration's objections to the Keystone XL pipeline and allowed construction on the controversial project to begin.


Fifty-six senators voted in favor of the amendment -- four short of the 60 required for approval.



The proposed 1,700-mile long pipeline expansion, intended to carry crude oil from Canada's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has become a political lightning rod. Supporters, including the oil industry, say it's a vital job creator that will lessen the country's dependence on oil imported from volatile regions.



Opponents say the pipeline may leak, and that it will lock the United States into a particularly dirty form of crude that might ultimately end up being exported anyway.



President Barack Obama rejected a bid in January to expedite the pipeline, arguing that a decision deadline imposed by Congress did not leave sufficient time to conduct necessary reviews. Administration officials have said the president may still eventually give the project a green light, though critics accuse him of trying to delay a final decision until after the November election.



Obama personally lobbied wavering Democrats to block passage of the amendment.

6 years ago

Bravo Obama and a job well done on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Thank you Eddie for sharing the great news.

6 years ago

You're welcome, Jon, I just feel for Obama as I feel I can sense at least some of the major opposition he's up against with these stupid politicians and super rich people and corporations dying to get this project pushed through somehow. And, sadly, this was prevented this time by only 4 votes.


This is so scary and you know these 4 are going to be hammered by the opposition with hopes that they too will cave. If they cave, it's over as Obama seemingly will be bypassed and have no power to prevent this stupidity.


It tears my heart out seeing this battle of greed, vs, sanity and compassion for our environment and the precious people who live in this country, and the world in general. Somehow I hope Obama never caves to this immense pressure, and that somehow he can convince other congress people to wake up and do the right thing as well.


I would bet anything that all our letters, petitions, and phone calls have helped prevent this so far and let's hope it continues.

6 years ago

We need to find out which 11 Democratic Senators jumped the line and voted for this stupidity. Then, we need to write, call, or email them and push them to regain their sanity and concern about our environment and the people living in this country of ours.

6 years ago

Eddie, the way I see it is it's called Congress Presidentual Discrimnation cause of Obama's race and Obama hasn't been given a chance to do what he says he can. The president can only sugest things to be done or has to be done, but it's up to the House of Congress to pass it which to me isn't fair. Things have gotten out of hand with gongress and their corporiate greed in oil that they buy friendship instead of making friendship. Soon they will find when their is no money, where are their friends. They will be no where to be found. Congress needs to listen to the cry of the people and not that of their greed to pull everyone down and point fingers at the American people saying, You Work For Me.

6 years ago

It truly has gotten way, way, way out of hand, Jon, as Congress people are OUR employees, and yet they couldn't care less about us, the general public. They have corrupted the system whereas they are for sale readily to the highest bidder, and all the lobbyist know this and use it to the max.


Congress sets it's own salary and own premium health care and many other perks that no other employee could ever dream of doing. Our first and primary objective should be to somehow get the money out of congress and the elections.


Someone recently was saying just because an individual is pumping millions into Newtie's campaign, doesn't mean that Newtie would consider that if he was President and his "sugar daddy" wanted a favor. Damn, how stupid do they think we are! Of course, Newtie would bend over backwards for that person, especially if Newtie was up for re-election and wanted more "gifts".


I'm really hoping by 2016 we can get Rocky Anderson into the Presidency, or someone else with as much integrity as I believe Rocky has. Obviously, none of this is going to come easy as the corruption has been going on for many, many, years. All we can do, however, is try the best we can and hope for the best.


Thank you for all your efforts towards this goal, and a better world.

6 years ago

There's a whole list of good environmental news today. Not just the KXL rejection and the Senate passing the RESTORE Act, but also, there was a rejection of expanding Arctic drilling:


"Today, the U.S. Senate voted on a number of bills that will have tremendous impacts for America's wildlife. Thanks to advocates like you who have been keeping the pressure on Congress to fight for their constituents' interests instead of Big Oil’s, we are happy to be able to report some big wins for wildlife today:

* Keystone XL Pipeline: REJECTED!
This amendment would have overturned President Obama's decision to reject the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline--bypassing the environmental review process and giving Congress unprecedented authority to hand out a permit for this dangerous project. The pipeline would put endangered whooping cranes and critical resources at risk of toxic oil spills and drive a rapid expansion of habitat-destroying tar sands operations that could put the lives of thousands of wolves and other wildlife at risk.

The RESTORE Act ensures that Clean Water Act penalties collected from those responsible for the BP oil disaster be dedicated to Gulf Coast restoration--a big win for brown pelicans and other wildlife impacted by the spill. This historic amendment also includes significant authorization and funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the National Endowment for the Oceans, both essential programs to protect key wildlife habitat and natural resources.

* Arctic Drilling: REJECTED!
This amendment would have opened new leases for oil and gas drilling in pristine Arctic wilderness--putting ringed seals at needless risk of potential oil disasters, while boosting Big Oil's billions of dollars in profits. It would have also drastically expanded offshore drilling into vast new areas of our coastline, including the Atlantic Ocean, the California Coast, eastern Gulf of Mexico and Bristol Bay in Alaska.

Thanks to all of you that sent messages, made calls, and spread the word to your friends over the last month--your voices for wildlife were heard loud and clear!


Sue Brown
Executive Director, NWF Action Fund"

6 years ago

From Think Progress: “An amendment by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) to force immediate approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline failed to get the 60 votes it needed, on a 56-42 vote. Democrats Max Baucus (MT), Begich (AK), Conrad (ND), Hagan (NC), Landrieu (LA), Manchin (WV), McCaskill (MO), Pryor (AR), Tester (MT), and Webb (VA) voted with Senate Republicans to strip authority for the pipeline’s approval from the president of the United States. Despite the intensity of climate activism in the region, New England Republicans Ayotte (NH), Brown (MA), Collins (ME), and Snowe (ME) stayed with the Republican bloc in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. The amendment was attached to the unrelated highway funding bill.”


6 years ago

Casey from PA was the 11th of the Democrats that voted for the Pipeline.


Here's another email, from


"Thanks to you, people power once more squeezed out a victory over oil money. 


Today the Senate defeated legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline. The vote was close, but given that this pipeline was a 'no brainer' a year ago, it's pretty remarkable that people power was able to keep working, even in the back rooms of the oil-soaked Senate. (See the full vote count here) Thanks to your hard work -- most recently sending 802,000 messages to the Senate in just 24 hours, not to mention all the calls to your Senators -- we have kept the pipeline at bay yet again. It's unlikely the Senate will take another vote on Keystone XL, but then again, one can't underestimate the corrupting influence of the money Big Oil is pumping into Capitol Hill.


Still, the news isn’t all good. Last week, TransCanada announced plans to build the half of the pipeline that runs from Oklahoma to Texas; and while it doesn’t let them get new tar sands oil across the Canadian border, it’s a blow for folks along the southern half of the route, who we’ll keep fighting side by side with. And TransCanada also announced plans to reapply for a permit to cross the border—so even the partial win we’ve got at the moment may turn out to be temporary. But for right now, there is pipe rusting in big piles across the heartland of the country, instead of sitting underground pumping dirty oil at 700,000 barrels per day. Our victory may not last forever. But today big oil actually lost something big. 


We've been playing defense for months, now we've got to go on offense.


The reason this fight has been so hard is because of the financial power of the fossil fuel industry, which brings me to where we go from here. Going forward, we'll be working with the huge majority of Americans who want to end government handouts to the fossil fuel industry. We've learned a lot, not all of it savory, about how the political process works and we're going to put that to use.


The problem couldn’t be more blatant—Senators and Representatives take money from people like Exxon and Koch Industries, and they give them gifts, with our money. It’s gone on for years, and it needs to stop. The vote today is a perfect example: the Senators voting for the pipeline have received $27,552,302 from fossil fuel industries, on average 3 times more than those voting against it.


This fight will stretch out all year long, and you’ll be getting requests for specific actions in your towns and cities in coming weeks. The first thing we’ll need to do is get every Representative, Senator and candidate on the record about their stand on subsidies.


This email isn’t to ask you to do anything in particular, besides just get ready for the next chapter. I think we all need a little well-deserved breather here. 

All these battles are connected. We’re finally starting to stand up to the most powerful industry on earth. Sometimes we’ll do it by going to jail, and sometimes by dialing the phone, and sometimes we will win, and sometimes we will lose, but we are—day by day, action by action—building a movement. Together. 


Thank you. 


--Bill McKibben"


I'm happy to say that both of my Senators voted against.

6 years ago

Here's a new action from Friends Of The Earth:


"Keystone XL: Victory in the Senate, but President Obama wavers on southern segment


In a testament to people power, this week the Senate voted down an amendment to override President Obama's January rejection of a presidential permit for the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. Thanks to activists like you who sent more than 802,000 messages to the Senate during our 24-hour petition blitz, we stiffened the spines of wobbly senators and sent a strong message to the oil-soaked ones doing TransCanada’s bidding.


However, this victory comes on the heels of President Obama's about-face last week. He applauded TransCanada’s latest ploy to revive the pipeline -- splitting the pipeline into two segments to circumvent the State Department’s review process and expedite construction on the southern leg from Cushing, Oklahoma through Texas to the Gulf Coast. We’re still working out the best ways to beat back this newest attack by TransCanada, but rest assured that, with your help, we’ll continue to fight every step of the way.


Tell President Obama: Don't cave in to TransCanada's latest scheme.


To read communication manager Kelly's blog post on how we've gotten this far in the fight, click here."

6 years ago

Thank you Seth in which I gladly signed. It's best when we stay three steps forward while Keystone XL is two steps backwards.

6 years ago

To have the Keystone XL Pipeline would make us look like Iraq through oil greed wanting the world to bow down and beg us for oil as Iran has everyone doing. Thats lowly. When all the oil is gone, is Big Oil going to steal everyone Solar and Wind Power for profit?

6 years ago

As if the KXL wasn't bad enough, there's a proposal to build a tar sands pipeline from Canada, through New England states, to the Atlantic.


Here's a petition to oppose that action:


"As we continue fighting TransCanada’s plan to funnel highly toxic tar sands oil across the U.S. heartland to Texas through the Keystone XL pipeline, oil companies are trying new gimmicks to get tar sands to U.S. ports for export.


Take Enbridge. This Canadian oil giant -- responsible for a massive tar sands oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan not yet two years ago -- now wants to pipe tar sands oil through New England.


Worse yet, Enbridge is trying to evade a thorough cross-border review process -- to break its plan into phases and get out of telling the public what will happen to drinking water not if, but when there is a spill.


As Canadian regulators begin to consider Enbridge's plan, it's crucial that people on both sides of the border speak out. Sign the petition today to the Canadian National Energy Board to demand a thorough review of the pipeline’s likely impacts on New England’s water and communities.


Enbridge's plan -- called the Trailbreaker project -- is to reverse the flow of two existing pipelines to get tar sands oil from Canada through New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, where the oil would leave U.S. shores on super tankers.

The Trailbreaker pipeline would threaten our climate by helping to further ignite the continent's biggest carbon bomb in the tar sands -- tar sands oil production generates three times more global warming pollution than conventional oil production.


The pipeline would also endanger a number of drinking water sources, rivers and wild lands of New England. Tar sands pipelines are more susceptible to spills than other pipelines and a spill of this type of dirty, heavy and corrosive oil is more devastating to local communities and takes longer to clean up. More than a year after another Enbridge pipeline spilled a million gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River, small businesses are hurting, property values are down, and miles of river remain closed.


Tar sands pipelines make climate change worse and are built to spill. Add your name to our petition demanding a full review of the safety risks, and we’ll deliver it to the Canadian National Energy Board before the public comment period closes this Monday.


Enbridge is in the beginning stages of seeking approval for its tar sands scheme, and we’ll watchdog the process on the U.S. side of the border, too. We've learned from the Keystone XL fight that mobilizing grassroots opposition from the start is key.


Friends of the Earth is joining with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and other environmental and public interest groups in New England and Canada to deliver more than 25,000 comments to the Canadian National Energy Board before the deadline this Monday.


By showing that people in both Canada and the U.S. are taking a stand against tar sands oil, you can help us turn up the heat on the National Energy Board to conduct a full accounting of the pipeline's risks to people's health and the environment -- and continue to build the cross-border coalition we need to stop the tar sands industry once and for all.


It’s time to hold these dirty energy companies accountable for wreaking havoc on our climate and our environment and putting our health at risk. Sign the petition to the Canadian National Energy Board today.


For clean water and healthy communities,
Kim Huynh
Tar sands campaigner, Friends of the Earth"

6 years ago

And now the Canadian government proposing legisltion to fast track such projects by eliminating much of the environment review processes. 


The pipeline south and the one planned to pipe oil out to the coast of Britishs Columbian both need to be stopped and the tar sands shut down.

Video shows some info on Enbridge
6 years ago

6 years ago

Yes it is a huge gamble and one in which we should all be involved.  As this video shows, Enbridge has an appalling record for safety and cleanup operations.  Even the construction of the pipeline will spoil the incredibly beautiful wilderness area through the Rockies and BC coast. 

This area is part of our heritage (world heritage) and that of future generations.

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