Victory in Keystone XL Pipeline Fight

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.


Related Stories:

The Dirty Truth About Tar Sands Oil Extraction

TransCanada Admits It Lied About Keystone XL Jobs

Fracking May Have Caused 50 Earthquakes in Oklahoma


Photo credit: NRDC


Patricia L.
Tricia Leggett7 years ago

I'm glad it is being put on hold for the moment, I live in Canada and like so many others do not want to see this project ever get started. We all knew years ago that the day would come when we are in the postion we are now, our "need for fossil fuels", now is the time to get out the blue prints for "turbines for wind power" and "all new homes equiped with solar panels" and cars that don't rely on gas.

Catherine W.
Csthy cook7 years ago

lot of oil off the gulf coast why ruin beautiful country side where people live. Do we think of fish first or people of the land first. I say LAND for the people who would be effecteThat is great. I know everyone along the projected path has their own feelings, ideas, and concerns, and worried about the beautiful land it would mess up. When I first heard about it and it was going to go through this man's land in Winnsboro Texas, that broke my heart. I lived there and as everyone else has their thoughts and opinion, I wondering what I could do for this man living in this beautiful country town. It looks like it is going to be on the table for review. There is a d.

Victor M.
Victor M7 years ago


Susan T.
Susan T7 years ago

If this stuff is so benign, (according to the industry) why don't they refine it in Canada. It can't be used in USA since it is so toxic, it would be going to countries that don't have the environmental protections that we have anyway. Why chance polluting in case of a spill or during the refinery process on the gulf coast.

Claire M.
Claire M7 years ago

This is great news however I must point out a warning. If we are at war with Iran in the near future [and it looks like we are the UK are heading in that direction] then the next President can do exactly what Bush Sr did right after the first act in the Desert Storm series. He pulled a chunk of oil out of the national reserve [unnecessarily] and triggered and energy state of emergency. This enabled bills to allow for oil drilling and exploration in previously protected land in Alaska to be pushed though with out going though the normal legislative process.

If we go to war with Iran the oil prices will sky rocket and the same process regarding such things as this pipeline could get pushed though with out our consent.

Joanna Clark
Joanna Clark7 years ago

The decision has only been postponed. We need to keep the pressure on the President to make sure he does not approve the construction of the pipeline.

Barbara K.
Barbara K7 years ago

Great news and I hope that someone wakes up. We shouldn't have to take all the risks with none of the benefits. The oil goes on the world market, not to us. We have hurricanes, forest fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. and any one could damage a large portion of the pipeline and destroy the earth around it forever. Let Canada find another way, maybe across their own country.

Gerald M.
Past Member 7 years ago

This is great news, and let's all hope that it sticks....
BUT, as pointed out by Robin R. and others, the Harper and provincial governments of Alberta and British Columbia must be in accord with the electorate majority on this topic. BC especially will suffer beyond repair if big oil has its way.
Patrick F's truthful comment gives us cause to be wary and fearful.

Dana W.
Dana W7 years ago

Nice to hear some posiitve news.

Piotr F.
Past Member 7 years ago

Glad to hear. Thanks for info