The Keystone XL pipeline is one of the most important decisions on climate change that President Obama will make—approving the pipeline would unleash expanded production of the Canadian tar sands, some of the dirtiest oil on the planet. The Keystone XL pipeline would transport the world’s most carbon polluting oil 2,000 miles from the boreal forests of Canada across America’s heartland to an international shipping port on the Gulf Coast in order to export it. While encouraging the development of oil with 82 percent more global warming pollution on a life-cycle basis than conventional crude oil, the Keystone XL pipeline would also jeopardize surrounding communities and ecosystems and threaten the drinking water supplies of millions of Americans.
The pipeline is being pushed by TransCanada, whose terrible safety record is evidenced by the 12 spills of their original Keystone pipeline in its first year alone, despite guarantees from TransCanada’s CEO that the original pipeline would “meet or exceed world-class safety and environmental standards.” Tar sands oil is also more corrosive to pipelines, further increasing the likelihood of spills, such as the one in Mayflower, Arkansas in March 2013. For assuming all the risks of this dangerous pipeline, the U.S. would receive few rewards—Keystone XL will only create 35 permanent jobs, will not significantly lower gas prices for Americans, and will do nothing to reduce our reliance on foreign oil or increase our energy independence. LCV urges President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and for Congress to support his decision.
Big oil and gas companies are among the most profitable companies in the world. So why do they continue to benefit from billions of dollars every year in taxpayer giveaways, such as tax deductions, special accounting rules, and drilling without paying royalties for exploiting the American people’s natural resources? These subsidies for polluters are especially indefensible at a time when concern about our nation’s debt is prompting cuts to essential programs, including those that safeguard the air we breathe and the water we drink. President Obama has repeatedly called for eliminating oil and gas subsidies that would save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars over the next decade. LCV will continue fighting until Congress repeals these and other wasteful polluter subsidies.
LCV has strong concerns about the environmental and public health impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a growing but under-regulated oil and natural gas production technique that is impacting and alarming communities all across the country. The risks from the lifecycle of fracking include air pollution with local and global impacts, contamination of groundwater and surface water by toxic chemicals, overburdening of communities and infrastructure, and improper disposal of hazardous fracking waste. That is why LCV supports robust new safeguards for fracking at the state and federal levels, including closing loopholes in the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and other environmental statutes; requiring the industry to disclose the chemicals used in fracking; preserving communities’ rights to restrict fracking within their jurisdictions; and prohibiting fracking in our most precious and ecologically-sensitive public lands.