Shocking news. The government has been lying to us.
The State Department’s draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL tarsands pipeline was released last Friday and it was, to say the least, disappointing.
Climate activists had been hoping the statement would produce a document to persuade President Obama to do the right thing and say “No” to the pipeline.
Don’t miss a beat
Get the latest news and thought-provoking analysis from Truthout.
Instead, as The New York Times puts it, the report “makes no recommendation about whether the project should be built but presents no conclusive environmental reason it should not be.”
It even goes as far as to say that the pipeline will be safe from the climate impacts to which it will contribute.
House Speaker John Boehner was quick to jump on the bandwagon and declare that there was no reason to block the pipeline any more, and that President Obama should waste no time in approving it.
Report Prepared By Contractor Hired By Owner Of Pipeline
Now we are learning that this document was not prepared by any neutral government officials, but rather by a private company in the pay of the pipeline’s owner. So it’s hardly surprising that the statement came out strongly in favor of the pipeline.
Time to take back your words, Mr. Boehner?
Obviously this is outrageous, but perhaps it is also an indication that TransCanada is getting desperate.
Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement, which is now an official government document. The statement estimates, and then dismisses, the pipeline’s massive carbon footprint and other environmental impacts, because, it asserts, the mining and burning of the tar sands is unstoppable.
Because the impact statement was written by a TransCanada contractor, not by State Department officials, it should come as no surprise that it presents a worldview of a global economy inevitably dependent on dirty fossil fuels that is entirely at odds with the expressed views of Secretary of State John Kerry.
As Secretary of State John Kerry said six years ago, “we’re on an urgent clock” to confront fossil-fueled climate change, which he compared to the threat of nuclear weaponry as a “man-made” and “uncontrolled” weapon with “the ability to change life as we know it on this Earth.” Kerry’s recognition of the scientific necessity to keep global concentrations of carbon dioxide below 450 ppm should preclude the possibility of building a pipeline designed to pump 7 gigatons of carbon dioxide worth of tar sands crude over decades.
Will President Obama Be True To His Promise?
Climate activists were delighted when President Obama made a strong stand dealing with climate change and the environment in his State of the Union address: “I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”
The dangerous tar sands pipeline would transport some of the dirtiest oil on the planet. That’s because producing this oil from sand leads to the destruction of vast swathes of Canada’s boreal forest, the pollution of hundreds of millions of gallons of water, and the contamination of pristine wilderness and other land as the oil makes its way from Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Now that the State Department’s “neutral” report has proven to be anything but, will Obama keep his promise and refuse to endorse this 1,700-mile monstrosity with its destructive effects on the environment?
We hope so, but meanwhile, please pass the word.