AS CONGRESS SENDS KEYSTONE XL BILL TO WHITE HOUSE,
UNITED OPPOSITION STANDS UP
Artists, elected officials, landowners, labor unions, progressive organizations, Tribal Nations, and climate advocates send “Unity Letter” urging President Obama to veto and reject Keystone XL
Washington — Just as Congressional Republicans prepare to send a bill forcing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to the White House, a diverse coalition of citizens signed the “#NoKXL Unity Letter” urging President Obama to veto the misguided legislation and to reject the permit altogether.
Summing up the case against Keystone XL, the letter is signed by more than 100 high-profile artists, elected officials, labor unions, progressive organizations, landowners, Tribal Nations and climate advocates. Citizens are invited to add their name to the letter with expectations thousands will sign on in a matter of days.
“We have guitars and tractors, sign holders and law makers, strong voices and powerful pens all urging President Obama to veto and reject the risky Keystone XL pipeline in order to protect our land and water. We are a unified alliance all standing up and standing with President Obama as he makes this historic choice between Big Oil and our families.” -Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska
• Willie Nelson, Musician
• Mark Ruffalo, Actor
• Neil Young, Musician
• U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
• Julianne Moore, Academy Award Winner 2015
• Norman and Lyn Lear, Producer
• Robert Redford, Actor
• U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva
• Ian Somerhalder, Actor
• James Hansen, former NASA Scientist
• Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor
• Rev. Jim Wallis, Faith Leader
• Faith Spotted Eagle
• Bill McKibben, 350.org
• Randy Thompson, Nebraska Rancher
• Naomi Klein, Author
• Michael Brune, Sierra Club
• Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters
• Van Jones, Author
• Michael Kieschnick, CREDO
• George Gresham, 1199SEIU
• Peter Lehrner, Natural Resources Defense Council
Full letter text:
Dear Mr. President,
The long and worthy fight over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is coming to an end, and the time for a decision draws near. We appreciate your pending veto of the misguided Congressional bill, and we fully support an outright rejection of the permit. We have followed the question of Keystone XL’s impact for many years, and those years have clarified a few key points.
First, those of us who oppose it have an intensity matched by few issues in recent time. Beginning with Native Nations, environmentalists, farmers and ranchers, the opposition spread over time to climate scientists, college students, moms, financial experts, trade unionists, renewable energy proponents, nurses, artists and an ever-growing swath of the general population. A historic number of us were arrested for this cause; millions wrote public comments, or emailed their elected officials; everyone engaged in public dialogue in precisely the fashion you have asked. Everyday people have stood up to the Big Oil money on the other side, and done so with civility, firmness, creativity and passion.
Second, it’s now clearer than ever that the tar sands pose an incredible risk to the health and safety of our families and a livable planet. As a major study in Nature confirmed, a serious effort to control global warming must keep the ‘dirtiest oil in the world’ safely underground. Keystone XL must be evaluated not just as a pipeline but as part of the tar sands industry’s plans for rapid and reckless expansion. As you have stated, the climate impacts of major infrastructure projects are a matter of national — and international — interest. Rejecting Keystone XL is the kind of the principled choice leaders need to make. There is no way to reconcile this pipeline with a serious climate policy.
Third, the arguments for this pipeline—never strong—have disappeared on closer examination. It is not a potent job-creating tool, nor a route to American energy independence; tar sands expansion is not inevitable; and the sheer number of leaks and spills means a tar sands pipeline would pose a clear danger to public health. It is, instead, a classic boondoggle, whose only beneficiaries will be a handful of rich oil companies while our families take on all the risk.
Many of the choices that define a presidency come by accident or chance — some storm or crisis that demands a quick response. But this one is firmly in your control. Climate change will be a defining issue of this century. Rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline will powerfully demonstrate your commitment to stopping the rising of the oceans, set the stage for further climate action and build a legacy worth sharing.