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Ben Garbus: An appeal to reject tar sands oil pipeline

To the editor:

The Keystone XL pipeline is a step in the wrong direction for the planet.

The proposed pipeline would transport Canadian tar sands from Alberta to Texas, where it would be refined into oil for consumption.

In all ways, tar sands are an unsustainable resource. When burned, the oil from tar sands emit three times the amount of greenhouse gases as conventional oil. In production, tar sands extraction uses hundreds of millions of cubic feet of natural gas each day, destroys native forest environments and deposits miles upon miles of toxic waste into permanent man-made ponds.

TransCanada predicts a BP-sized spill once every seven years; in the past year, however, there’s been one minor spill each month. If the proposed pipeline had a spill, water sources for over 2 million people could be contaminated. Lobbyists exaggerate the job projections for the project, and the notion of energy independence coming from tar sands is a myth, since most of the oil acquired would be exported.

We are at a crossroads of energy production in America. An investment in dirty technology like this will set a poor example for generations like mine and those to come

. Now is the time to fight climate change, not perpetuate it. We can’t let weak politics orchestrate the destruction of our environment. The State Department is taking public comments on this issue until April 24. I urge everyone to email keystonecomments@state.gov to let the president know that his approval will be a mistake.

Ben Garbus


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