April 16, 2014

Waxman and Whitehouse Submit Formal Comments on Keystone Pipeline

Washington, DC – As Secretary of State John Kerry continues to consider the fate of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wrote to Secretary Kerry explaining why the project is not in our national interest and submitting formal comments critiquing several key elements of the State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS).  The letter and comments explain how the pipeline will contribute to dangerous climate change.

The comments from Waxman and Whitehouse come in the 90-day period during which several agencies are reviewing the entire Keystone XL permit application.  After this period, Secretary Kerry is required to consider input from the public and other agencies to determine whether the project is in national interest, and to approve or deny the application based on that determination.

The cover letter explaining why this project is not in our national interest states:

“You [Secretary Kerry] face a difficult choice regarding the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.  Whichever decision you make, some Americans will be unhappy with the outcome.  But sometimes the most critical decisions are difficult precisely because there is so much at stake.  It is these decisions that are most important to get right.

“Here, the choice is between business-as-usual and facing up to the reality of climate change.  It’s really that simple.

“Unfortunately, the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement fails to recognize the reality of what is at stake.  The FSEIS systematically downplays the importance of this pipeline and tries to suggest that it will have minimal real-world effects.  As a result, as we explain in the attached comments, the detailed assessment of the pipeline’s impacts in the FSEIS is seriously flawed, and the broader perspective on what the pipeline means for climate change simply is not there.  The conclusions in the FSEIS cannot serve as a reliable basis for assessing the potential impact on climate change of approving the Keystone XL pipeline.”

The cover letter and full FSEIS critique is available here.

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