Tom Steyer Letter to Secretary Kerry Regarding the Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement PR Newswire SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 2, 2014 SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Earlier today, NextGen Climate Action President Tom Steyer sent the following letter to Secretary of State John Kerry regarding theState Department's Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL pipeline. February 2,2014 Secretary John Kerry U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520 Secretary Kerry: I am sure you know thatI have the utmost respect forthe leadership you bring to theState Departmentwhen it comes to addressing the challenge of global climate change. At his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Obama made clear the Administration's position when he stated that climate change is a fact. For those of us in California experiencing an historic drought, as well as for those across the country who have been dealing with extreme weather, climate change affects us every day – impacting our economy, our health and our welfare. Many of ushave beenheartenedto hear thatamidst your many pressing responsibilities,you intend to takeanactive roleinadvising thePresident on his decision regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. In light of the concerns enumerated below, Iurge you to launchan independentand transparent review of thework product containedin the Keystone XL PipelineEnvironmental Impact Statement (FEIS)released last Friday. Ofparticularconcern areFEIS conclusions thatconflict with and are contradictedbytar sands industry executives who confirm that they needthepipelinein order to continue to develop the tar sands and to reachinternational markets.The FEIS fails to consider that construction of the KXL pipeline is a necessity to fully maximize extraction of tar sands. Attachedis an analysis of such assertions by tar sands executives, which includes such statements as: o"If Canada fails to develop itsoil sandsnow — and fails to build the pipelines to move it to market — the opportunity could vanish for decades, two industry executives warned Wednesday." "Oil sands development is now or never, industry executives say," Toronto Star, 1/15/14 o"If there were no more pipeline expansions, I would have to slow down," theCenovusexecutive told The Globe and Mail's editorial board. "Oil industry rebuts 'trash-talking' celebrity critics," The Globe and Mail, 1/15/14 o"The pipeline has to be done,"[Total] Chief Executive Officer Christophe deMargerie told reporters at theWorld Economic Forum inDavos. "Total CEO Urges Keystone Approval To Unplug Alberta Bottleneck," Bloomberg News Service 1/22/14 These assertions reinforce the findings by NextGen Climate Action in late November of last year which demonstrate the pipeline is the economic key to unlocking the tar sands and, as such, will lead to more pollution in the air than would be generated if the pipeline was not built. Both the statements from the tar sands executives and the NextGen Climate Action report make clear the pipeline would fail the test established by the President during his speech at Georgetown last June: that no project that increases the amount of air pollution will be approved. However, and despite the fact that some of the aforementioned assertions from tar sands executives were made as recently as last week, itdoes not appear that any of these representations were considered in the FEIS. How can the foreign companies who stand to financially benefit from the approval of the KXL pipeline assert that the pipeline is the key to their ability to develop the tar sands without these assertionsbeing considered material to this report? This was a report that was designed to analyze exactly this issue of whether or not the pipeline would affect the development of the tar sands. TransCanada and the tar sands lobby has time and time again justified the development of the pipeline by making the public policy argument that the pipeline would support U.S. oil independence. But TransCanada has refused to commit to keeping the refined oil in the United States. However, as you are aware from your time in Congress, whileTransCanada's CEO has asserted that "every" drop of crude would stay in the United States, company officials haverefused to testify to this whenappearingbefore Congress. And to this day, TransCanada has refused toexplain whetheror not the refined oilwill be shipped to economic competitorssuch as China, which hasa significant investment in theproject. The failure to address the assertions made by tar sand oil executives that the pipeline is the key to unlocking the tar sandsis the latest in a series of problems. Together, they make it clear it would be a disservice to President Obama, to our country and to the resolution of climate change touse theFEISasa trusted document. These problems include: oThe hiring ofa TransCanada contractor– EnvironmentalResourcesManagement (ERM)– to write theFEIS. oERM's problematic representations aboutits tiesto the tar sands industryon itsconflict of interest disclosure form. oThe Inspector General's investigation intothis deception, an action taken only after persistentpressurefrom public interest groups. oAdditional conflicts(here,hereandhere)that have come to light since the Inspector General's investigation began. oRepeated quotes(e.g.,hereandhere)to news outlets fromnamed andunnamedstaff membersat the State Department boastingof"rigorous conflictof interest procedures…" that "… ensure that no contractors or subcontractors have financial or other inappropriate interests in the outcome of a project."Thisassertioncontinuedto be madeeven afterthe Inspector General's investigation was announced. oThe unsurprising tilt of thedraftFEIStowardERM'sclient, TransCanada. oTheinteragency criticism(hereandhere)that the draft EIS drewbecauseof its deep flaws. oThenearly identical nature of thefinalFEISto thedraftEIS, despite significant, contradictory information coming to light after the draft version was issued. This includesignoringthe realities of tar sands transportation, andestimatesthatKeystone XL wouldproduce the pollution equivalent of more than50coal plants– an amount no serious expert thinks can be meaningfully offset.It also ignores the $30 billion in investment by companies backed by the Chinese government. oThe apparent rush to get the EIS out the door before the Inspector General's investigation was complete– despitea recent request by over 20 House membersasking thatthe FEIS be held until theinvestigationwas completed. And, in addition to this litany of issues that should disqualify this FEIS report from being used as a trusted document, there is nowa report inthe Canadian Pressthatseems to indicate officials in Ottawa were provided withtheassurancethat they would receive the favorableFEIS that they had lobbied so hard to secure.I have long said that Keystone is a pipeline that runs through — but no to — the United States.If the press reporting is accurate, it would now appear that foreign interests have a directpipeline into the decision-making process of the U.S. government, which is simply unconscionable. For all of these reasons, especially in the context of global climate change, it is critical that an independent and transparent review of the FEIS, and the process undertaken for its preparation, commence immediately. It is inappropriate and unfair to provide President Obama — who has stated that climate change is a fact and even articulated a clear test for the approval of a project such as the KXL pipeline – with a report that is not only on its face defective, but which has suffered from a process that raises serious questions about the integrity of the document. Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. Regards, Tom Steyer SOURCE NextGen Climate Action Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 415-983-2319
Tom Steyer Letter to Secretary Kerry Regarding the Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement
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