Resolution Urging the President to Reject Tar Sands Pipeline
Submitted by: Heather R. Mizeur (MD), Rep. Mike Honda (CA), Maggie Allen (ME), Rachel Binah (CA), Gilda Cobb-Hunter (SC), Pat Cotham (NC), Carol Pensky (MD), Oscar Ramirez (MD), Valerie Rongey (WA), Garry Shay (CA), Barbra Casbar Siperstein (NJ), Sam Spencer (ME), Rick Stafford (MN), Vicki Hansen Thackray (Luxembourg) ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Resolution Urging the President to Reject Tar Sands Pipeline
WHEREAS, President Obama is expected to make a decision by the end of this year regarding a proposed 1700-mile “tar sands oil” pipeline (known as the Keystone XL pipeline) across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to be built by the Canadian company TransCanada, connecting the tar sands region in Alberta province in Canada to Gulf Coast oil refineries in Texas.
WHEREAS, The first portion of the Keystone system, which opened in 2010 and runs from Canada down through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and into Oklahoma, spilled 12 times in its first year of operation, dumping over 30,000 gallons of crude oil; and,
WHEREAS, According to TransCanada’s own assessments, a leak of more than 50 gallons on this Keystone I pipeline was supposed to be a “once every seven years” occurrence; and,
WHEREAS, The substance that would be carried in the Keystone XL pipeline, diluted bitumen, was described in a joint report by NRDC, the Pipeline Safety Trust, the National Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club as “a highly corrosive, acidic, and potentially unstable blend of thick raw bitumen and volatile natural gas liquid condensate;” and,
WHEREAS, A “Tar Sands Safety Risks” report specifies that diluted bitumen contains up to 50 times higher acid concentrations than conventional crude oil and up to 10 times as much sulfur and that “the additional sulfur can lead to the weakening or embrittlement of pipelines;” and,
WHEREAS, The Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Cynthia Quarterman, stated in a July 2011 Congressional hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on pipeline safety that a study of the safety of tar sands oil pipelines has not been done; and,
WHEREAS, The Keystone XL pipeline would run directly through the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies one-third of our nation’s ground water used for irrigation and drinking water for two million people; and,
WHEREAS, The process of tar sands extraction represents the potential destruction of the Boreal forests under which it is found, may lead to high rates of cancer and other illnesses among local communities, may pollute the Athabasca River, and may kill nesting migratory birds and many other species; and,
WHEREAS, Vice-President Al Gore has stated that “the tar sands are the dirtiest source of fuel on the planet. The pipeline would be an enormous mistake. The answer to our climate, energy and economic challenges does not lie in burning more dirty fossil fuels;” and,
WHEREAS, Cynthia Giles, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, wrote in a July 16, 2010 letter to the Department of State that “we estimate that greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian oil sands crude would be approximately 82% greater than the average crude refined in the US, on a well-to-tank basis;” and,
WHEREAS, James Hansen, our nation’s leading climate scientist, has stated that if the tar sands are fully developed, “it is essentially game over” as far as solving the climate crisis; and,
WHEREAS, James C. Little, President of the Transport Workers Union, and Larry J. Hanley, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, representing 300,000 workers in the US, issued a statement calling upon the Obama administration “NOT to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline or to take any actions that lead to the further extraction of tar sands oil from Alberta;” and,
WHEREAS, 1,252 people from nearly every state in the United States were arrested in front of the White House in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience between August 20 and September 3 calling upon President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline; and,
WHEREAS, a recent Cornell University Global Labor Institute analysis found that because of projected fuel price increases, likely oil spills, and minimal local job creation, the Keystone XL Pipeline may eliminate more jobs than it creates; and,
WHEREAS, The leaders of this country’s major environmental groups, including NRDC, EDF, Sierra Club, NWF, Union of Concerned Scientists, 350.org, League of Conservation Voters and others issued a statement that “there is not an inch of daylight between our policy position on the Keystone Pipeline and those of the very civil protesters being arrested daily outside the White House. This is a terrible project;” and,
WHEREAS, A national coalition of ranchers, landowners, elected officials, Native peoples, students, people of faith, trade unionists, community leaders and others have come together to oppose this project; and,
WHEREAS, On September 7, 2011, a group of nine Nobel Peace Laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, wrote to President Obama asking him “to do the right thing for our environment and reject the proposal to build the Keystone XL;” and,
WHEREAS, The development of the tar sands requires oil prices to be high in order to turn a profit,
WHEREAS, TransCanada is on record before the Canadian Energy Board stating that the project would increase the price of oil in the Midwest; and,
WHEREAS, By statute, President Obama, on his own and without Congressional approval, has the power to stop this pipeline;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that these members of the Democratic National Committee call upon President Obama to use his authority to deny the “Presidential Permit” for the Keystone XL pipeline, thereby rejecting the tar sands pipeline project and the negative impacts it would have on our public health and environment.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that these members of the Democratic National Committee believe that by denying the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama would enhance national security, advance job creation in the new “green economy,” improve public health, and take a positive stand for addressing climate change concerns.