Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Keystone XL Rejection Paves Way for Reversal of Alberta Clipper Scheme


Following President Obama’s rejection of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, environmental groups in the Great Lakes region cheered the decision and urged the Administration to reject an equally meaningful tar sands threat to water and climate: the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline expansion.

The prolonged battle over Keystone XL drew an unprecedented amount of attention. But as the Keystone XL battle raged in Congress and in the press, Canadian oil giant Enbridge has concocted a scheme to nearly double the amount of tar sands crude running through the Great Lakes region on its Alberta Clipper pipeline, which runs from Alberta through Minnesota and Wisconsin. This expansion would put the pipeline’s capacity on par with Keystone XL, but has not been subjected to the same legally required review process, which is designed to protect the public from pollution of our air and water.

In President Obama’s rejection of Keystone XL, he noted that the pipeline “would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy,” that it “would not lower gas prices for American consumers,” and that “shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security.” He also argued that “approving this project would have undercut [America’s] global leadership” on climate. For all these reasons, the State Department and the president determined that Keystone XL was not in the national interest. By the same logic, Alberta Clipper and the Enbridge Great Lakes pipeline system fail the test as well.

Senators have raised questions about Enbridge’s expansion scheme, and conservation and Tribal groups have taken action in Minnesota to block it and are currently awaiting a decision from a federal judge on its legality, but the Obama Administration’s rejection of Keystone XL gives activists renewed hope that the State Department will be proactive in reversing this reckless decision.

Terry Houle, Sierra Club volunteer leader: “President Obama deserves our praise and heartfelt thanks for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline -- his leadership on climate solutions will help protect the planet and our communities, and sets the stage for a prosperous future through clean energy. The president's decision to deny Keystone XL establishes the precedent that we must take the impact of pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure on climate into account when determining if a project is in our national interest. If we are to hold climate disruption in check, and protect the health and well-being of our families, we must take every opportunity to keep dirty fuels in the ground and use President Obama's litmus test when evaluating all pipeline proposals.”

Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth: “We are thankful to President Obama for making this decision for future generations. Now it is time to face the other choices ahead. In the Great Lakes region, we already have our own Keystone XL pipeline, the Alberta Clipper, and Enbridge wants to double its capacity, to emit l50 million metric tons of carbon annually to the environment. Yet the State Department is turning a blind eye. This is just one of many new pipeline projects proposed for the Great Lakes, endangering our fresh water and violating the rights of indigenous people. The Ojibwe tribes of Minnesota stand united in their opposition to these lines, and call on the Obama administration to follow their own laws and their own logic, and stand up for Mother Earth."

Andy Pearson, MN350: “For Keystone XL, full rejection was the only option that ever made sense for a country committed to addressing the threat of climate change. Presidential rejection is equally as necessary for the Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion, which carries the same dirty oil across the same international border to the same overseas markets. The decision to reject the Alberta Clipper expansion and undo this illegal scheme should be a no-brainer now for the President.”

350 Madison member Mary Beth Elliott: “In Wisconsin, we’re cheering the Obama Administration for standing up for the American people and the environment by rejecting Keystone. We endorse the principle underlying the Keystone decision and ask the Administration to bring that same principle to bear on the Enbridge Alberta Clipper. We urge the Administration to protect land, water, and the climate by rejecting the Enbridge Alberta Clipper.”

Mark Fink, Center for Biological Diversity: “We applaud President Obama and Secretary Kerry for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. To avoid the worst consequences of climate change, we must leave much of the remaining fossil fuels in the ground, starting with the dirty tar sands of Alberta, Canada. For the very same reason that the State Department rejected Keystone, it should also reject the major expansion of the Enbridge Alberta Clipper and Line 3 tar sands pipelines.”

Eric Hansen, Milwaukee 350: “Wisconsinites, like Nebraskans, value their water more than Canadian tar sands crude oil. Milwaukee 350 welcomes the President's rejection of Keystone XL. We look forward to the same common sense and due diligence applied to the proposed Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion -- a similar tar sands project which threatens not only Wisconsin's waters but the public health and water of the whole Upper Great Lakes region.”

Kendall Mackey, Energy Action Coalition: “Young voters who elected President Obama could not be more excited that the President rejected Keystone XL and stood with our generation against the dirty fossil fuel agenda. We’re thankful that President Obama is the first president to reject a major fossil fuel project on the grounds that it will fuel climate change, and we’re committed to making sure it’s not his last. President Obama has an opportunity to show that he’s a true leader by applying his climate test to Alberta Clipper and the tar sands infrastructure facing the Midwest, and we won't stop fighting until we stop tar sands at the source.”

Dr. Carl Whiting of Wisconsin Safe Energy Alliance (WiSE): “We would like to thank President Obama for his bold leadership in rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. By establishing what might be referred to as a 'Keystone climate principle', the Obama Administration has made it clear that energy projects must now be judged according to how they affect climate change and its impact on our national interest. A coherent application of this climate principle will help assess similar projects, such as Enbridge's massive tar sands pipeline expansion through our Great Lakes region. Significantly larger than Keystone, this massive plan is currently awaiting response from the State Department. Here in Wisconsin, the members of WiSE are continuing our campaign to raise awareness of this threat to our climate, water, and self-determination, and we applaud the Obama Administration for their bold leadership on this issue.”

Both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have committed themselves to bold action on climate and bolstering their legacies as climate champions. In the lead-up to crucial international climate negotiations in Paris, it has never been more important that the Obama Administration be strong and consistent in its approach to projects that threaten the climate. Applying the principles from the Keystone rejection more broadly would solidify this Administration’s credibility on environmental issues and allow the United States to act as a world leader in combatting the climate crisis.


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