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Resources for Writing Your State Department Testimony

With the State Department hearing only one week away and the comment period nearing a close, now is the time to make our voices heard loud and clear and demonstrate to the Obama Administration that there are many, many reasons why this pipeline is not in the national interest. Many pipeline fighters and aquifer lovers have already signed up to testify and have submitted comments to the State Department. We hope many more of you will make yourselves heard before April 22 (the deadline for submitting comments to the State Department). Groups on a state and national level are helping collect 1 million signatures by April 22, so make sure you submit one today.

You all have powerful perspectives to bring to the table and every comment and testimony will be valuable in helping stop this pipeline. To help get the testimony and comment-writing brain juices flowing, we have compiled a list of pipeline facts and the sources to back them up. Please feel free to use these sources when writing your comments to the State Department and also let us know if there is another angle we should be including on this list by emailing cjohnson@boldnebraska.org.

Fact: The Koch brothers have a financial stake in Keystone XL and their right-wing groups like AFP are working side by side with labor union LIUNA to push this risky pipeline.

Fact: 100% of the steel TransCanada is using was produced outside of the United States and only 50% of this foreign-made steel was rolled and coated in the United States.

Fact: Unions do not stand 100% with this pipeline. Nurses, AFT and Communications Workers are all opposed to the pipeline. Steelworkers were opposed to Keystone I because of foreign steel and Keystone XL still uses foreign steel.  

Fact: Building the Keystone XL will directly impact the expansion of tar sands, and in turn speed up climate change.

Fact: The KXL holds more economic risks than profits. The job creation claims being made by pipeline supporters and some media outlets are wildly exaggerated. While Rush Limbaugh says the KXL will create up to a million jobs, an independent study done by Cornell estimates the number to be closer to 2,000 temporary jobs, and that the KXL could kill more jobs than it actually creates. The most recent State Department EIS estimates that the KXL will only create 35 jobs.

Fact: Pipelines leak. Many of those leaks are major and pose immense dangers to the public. According to Dr. Stansbury, UNL Professor of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering conducted a study showing that the KXL would result in 91 major spills over the 50 year life of the pipeline.

Fact: The KXL will carry diluted bitumen. Diluted bitumen (dilbit) is not considered oil by the IRS, which would allow TransCanada to evade paying taxes into the Oil Spill and Liability Trust, a fund used to clean up oil spills. Indeed dilbit is not oil; it is far more dangerous to the public. A toxic sludge of chemicals and peanut-butter thick tar sands oil, dilbit sinks in water and is proving to be impossible to clean up.

Fact: The KXL route passes through a number of sacred tribal grounds, including the Ponca’s Trail of Tears. Native tribes are concerned about health and cultural impacts of the pipeline, concerns that have not been adequately addressed by the State Department.

Fact: Extracting the tar sands causes unfathomable damage to the environment and people near the extraction sites.

Fact: Investors, nations, and academics across the world are distancing themselves from the tar sands. Why? Because it’s becoming clear that it is a bad investment both financially and morally.

Fact: The Keystone XL will NOT provide “energy security.” The oil is destined for export and we will not see lower gas prices.

Fact: The entire KXL review process is broken. Conflicts of interest have riddled every review and each report has ignored very important environmental concerns.

Fact: TransCanada does not have a good safety record, or a good safety culture. Though they claim to promote safety by having “agreed to 57 extra conditions,” most of those are already required by law.

Fact: President Obama and John Kerry have declared multiple times their commitment to fighting climate change and protecting our children’s future. If they truly believe this, then there is no way they can approve this pipeline.

Fact: The KXL still crosses the Ogallala Aquifer, the most valuable resource in our state, and the fragile Sandhills.

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