Tell President Obama: Lead on climate, don't cheerlead on Keystone XL

President Obama's speech in Cushing, OK is a slap in the face to those of us have fought Keystone XL.
President Obama is touting his efforts to expedite the southern portion of Keystone XL — although it will do nothing to reduce high gas prices. Send an email directly to the Obama Campaign demanding real leadership for our climate, not cheerleading for Keystone XL.
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Send a message to President Obama: Stop cheerleading for Keystone XL

Dear Friend,

Today, President Obama takes his "all of the above" energy tour to Cushing, Oklahoma — the "pipeline crossroads of the world." Standing in front of piles of TransCanada's pipeline waiting to be put in the ground,1 he will issue a specific memorandum to federal agencies, not just to build, but to "expedite" the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the refineries and shipping ports in the Gulf Coast.

Even as he rejected the full Keystone XL pipeline saying he had insufficient time to evaluate it, the President has always pushed for the southern portion to be completed. But now in issuing a memorandum to speed up that process, he's signaling a willingness to backtrack on his initial (and minimal) condition of a full review for Keystone XL.

Such a public announcement in Cushing to promote Keystone XL is a slap in the face to those of us who worked so hard to convince President Obama to reject Keystone XL in January. And it gives fuel to the cynics who said that that rejection was just an attempt to temporarily placate the environmentalists and young people who believed his campaign rhetoric about the need for real action on climate and our fossil fuel dependence.

If there was ever a clear moment to register our disappointment, this is it.

Send a message to President Obama: Be a leader on climate, not a cheerleader for the disastrous Keystone XL Pipeline.

President Obama's energy tour is clearly a response to political pressure. His advisors think that he'll suffer at the polls if he's perceived as failing to take tough action about gas prices. And so they're working to showcase his support for Big Oil. An "all of the above" strategy just digs us in deeper. We all know the only way to get out of the hole we're in is a dramatic shift away from more drilling and bigger pipelines and to a massive investment in renewable energy like wind and solar.

The fact is, President Obama's trip to Cushing shows that he is failing on gas prices. Oil prices are up because of speculation, irresponsible talk of war with Iran, and rising demand for gasoline in countries like China and India — not because of a lack of dirty tar sands oil. And any policy that deepens our dependence on oil puts us at the continued mercy of oil prices that we can do little to control, and oil companies who have every incentive to keep prices high, not just now, but forever.

This is the problem with the southern portion — or any portion — of Keystone XL, and the problem with "all of the above" in general. As the ever-wise Bill McKibben wrote this week:

And if you think about it, "all of the above" is not a particularly coherent energy policy, not if one worries about climate change. Burning all the oil you can and then putting up a solar panel is like drinking six martinis at lunch and then downing a VitaminWater. You're still a drunk — just one with your daily requirement of C and D. If a presidential candidate said they had an "all of the above" foreign policy, where every other nation was an equal ally, they'd be thought lightweight or even dangerous. But with energy, it apparently seems politic to insist we need never make a choice. Or at least to tailor your talking points to your audience.2

Tell President Obama: Be a leader on climate, not a cheerleader for the disastrous Keystone XL Pipeline. Send an email message to his campaign now.

While the southern portion of Keystone XL does not turn up the spigot of tar sands bitumen that can be transported out of Alberta, Canada, and it does not threaten Nebraska's crucial Ogallala Aquifer, it does ultimately accomplish the biggest goal of Keystone XL — to connect with the existing tar sands pipeline from Canada, and finally bring the landlocked tar sands to shipping ports and the global market so it can be burned across the globe, leading to disastrous climate impacts.

Ironically, building the pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma — where there is currently an excess of stored oil due to expanded domestic and tar sands production — will reduce supply in the Midwest and actually raise gas prices by an estimated 20 cents!3

But President Obama is so determined to use the southern portion of Keystone XL to show that he's taking aggressive action to promote fossil fuels, he's issuing an executive order to federal agencies to expedite approval.

Once the southern portion is built to the Gulf, it is only a matter of time before oil companies like TransCanada figure out a way to get more oil out of the tar sands and to the Gulf for export. And then we'll be one step closer to "essentially game over" for the climate.4

As President Obama stands in Cushing today, let's urge him to bring some real leadership on climate, and let his campaign know our bitter disappointment over this significant misstep:

Thank you for fighting Keystone XL.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. "Keystone XL Pipeline: Big Oil Leans On Obama To Approve Entire Project," Huffington Post, March 21, 2012
2. "Mr. Obama Goes to Cushing, OK," Bill McKibben, March 21, 2012
3. "Keystone Oil Pipeline Seen Raising Gas Prices in Midwest: Energy," Bloomberg, February 29, 2012
4. "Key Facts on Keystone XL," Tarsands Action


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