by Frances Beinecke, President, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)
President Obama took a stand for the people of Nebraska yesterday, and Americans everywhere, when his administration stood up to Big Oil to say we won’t put our people, waters and croplands at risk for the sake of pipeline profits and dirty fuels.
That kind of leadership takes courage, and I applaud the president for doing the right thing.
The State Department has decided to conduct a new review of the Keystone XL proposal. In its statement, officials said they will analyze alternative routes for the pipeline, but they also mentioned the need to consider “environmental concerns, including climate change.” The process will likely take until early 2013.
This is a major victory. For months, NRDC has demonstrated the State Department’s review of the pipeline was flawed, inadequate and possibly even biased. This project simply cannot withstand scrutiny. We are confident that after thorough review, President Obama will kill this dangerous pipeline once and for all.
Today’s announcement is also a testament to the power of citizens to make their voices heard over the clamor of Big Oil.
Eighteen months ago, this pipeline was viewed as a foregone conclusion. But NRDC and our allies fought back. Ranchers, farmers and business leaders along the 1,700 mile path of the proposed pipeline spoke out against the unnecessary dangers it posed to their land, water and climate.
The outcry was especially loud in Nebraska, where the pipeline would cut through the vulnerable Sandhills region and across the essential Ogallala Aquifer. And as opposition to the pipeline was taking hold in the Heartland, it caught fire across the nation. Americans from all walks of life recognized that inviting corrosive oil and climate pollution into our backyard was not in our national interest. In August, 1,200 people chose to be arrested during a peaceful sit-in at the White House in protest over the pipeline.
And last Sunday, as many as 15,000 Americans encircled the White House to tell President Obama to reject Keystone XL and deliver on his clean energy promises.
I’d like to thank all of the people who contributed their time and support to blocking this pipeline. And I thank President Obama for putting the brakes on a dirty, dangerous project. Please send a message to the President right now to thank him for standing up to Big Oil.
I know that revisiting the flawed review process will result in the right answer: America does not need to deepen our oil addiction with this tar sands pipeline. As we await that final decision, we have succeeded in closing the spigot on more than a half million barrels of the dirtiest oil on the planet every day.
Photo credit: NRDC