The last day that the State Department will accept public comments on what should be done about the Keystone pipeline proposal is Monday, April 22nd. This will end a 45 day period that started with the placement of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Federal Register. That draft statement becomes final on June 21st, and then in a matter of months, the State Department will issue a National Interest Determination. At that point, it would be difficult to reverse a decision, so the time for the public to tell the Administration how burning tar sands oil will impact the climate is now.
Not sure what to write in a public comment? Here are some ideas:
- 51 coal plants: Former NASA climate scientist James Hansen called Keystone the “fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.” A completed pipeline would emit the CO2 equivalent of 51 carbon-polluting coal-fired power plants. The science is clear: increasing CO2 emissions is bad for the climate.
- Just 35 jobs: The Keystone Pipeline would not create 20,000-100,000 temporary jobs, as some have said. It would create 3,900 temporary ones, and only 35 permanent.
- Not a done deal: The State Department’s Draft (EIS) concludes that the tar sands oil would be extracted even if the pipeline is not constructed. This is not true: the pipeline would move 830,000 barrels of oil each day, whereas moving it by rail is not feasible.
- National security pipe dream: Some say the pipeline would be good for national security, but that is a myth. Here is the reality.
- Drill here, drill now, send abroad: Though people often make the case that more tar sands oil from Canada helps American energy security, it is clear that much of this oil would just be shipped abroad into the international petroleum market.
- Incomplete assessment: The draft EIS was completed by a consulting firm paid by the pipeline’s owner. There are more complete reviews of the full environmental, economic, and climate impact of the pipeline.
- Thank you for spilling: Tar sands oil spills onto American soil with alarming frequency. Some Representatives think Exxon spilling 200,000 gallons of tar sands oil from a pipeline into Mayflower, Arkansas is not a big deal — in fact, the corporation should be thanked for the whole ordeal.
- Think of the Canadians: Stopping the pipeline would be doing Canada a favor.
- Morality: Opposing the pipeline is the right thing to do for our generation and the ones that follow us. Allowing it to happen is a sign of “cowardice.”
Anyone can submit as many comments as they wish. Some created a compelling video about why Keystone is “all risk, no reward,” but not everyone has to do that. Some protest President Obama to let them know that this decision matters for the climate, but that tactic, while important, is not for everyone.
Making a comment is easy: the State Department asks people to address them to this mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org. Groups like 350.org, Sierra Club, CREDO Action, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, League of Women Voters, Sum of Us, and others have made it easy to compose a letter.
Whether it is snarky or serious, weigh in below if you left a comment regarding the “biggest carbon bomb on the planet.”