Today we moved a step closer to discovering what President Obama’s true climate legacy will be, when the State Department released the final, supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline. You can read the full report here.
While the assessment covers a range of concerning issues: including impacts on water pollution, endangered species, all eyes were glued to the sections concerning climate pollution. This is because President Obama committed, last June, to reject the pipeline if it would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
And the verdict in today’s SEIS is clear: Keystone XL fails President Obama’s climate test.
The SEIS acknowledges that the pipeline could have ‘a substantial impact on oil sands production levels.’ In other words, building the Keystone XL pipeline could help spur increased tar sands production and the carbon pollution that goes with it. In fact, the report concludes that Keystone XL will emit upwards of 27.4 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, creating the equivalent climate pollution of the exhaust of nearly 6 million cars each year.
If you factor the lifespan of the pipeline, likely several decades, the President is being asked to consider locking-in roughly a billion tons of extra emissions at a time when nations are trying urgently to reduce emissions to keep within safe climate limits.
The SEIS report also establishes that tar sands crude is more toxic, more corrosive, more difficult to clean up, and more carbon intensive than conventional oil – and acknowledges that between 2002 and 2012 there were more than 1700 pipeline spills.
Since the initial EIS was made public, more than 2 million people submitted public comments to the State Department, the overwhelming majority calling for an accurate consideration of the pipeline’s climate impacts.
Additionally,more than 76,000 people have pledged to participate in peaceful acts of civil disobedience, should the President signal intent to approve the pipeline.
Are you ready to join them?