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David Gilbert Keith: To be more environmentally sound, write to the president

To the editor:

As the Energy Committee of a “Green Community,” we have written to President Obama and asked him to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Our small town is, as are many towns in western Massachusetts, on track to reduce municipal energy use by 20 percent, but such progress would be undermined by the importation of oil from tar sands. Mining and synthesizing oil from tar sands requires huge amounts of energy and water. Such oil ultimately releases not only the carbon in each barrel as it is used, but extraction and processing to get that oil requires the energy equivalent of another 20 to 40 percent of a barrel. If we diminish fuel use in our town by 20 percent, but the fuel available requires at least that much more energy to produce, we are losing ground.

We expect the president to protect the territory of the nation from invasion by foreign powers. Yet sea level rise from continued climate change is projected to submerge huge areas of U.S. territory outright and open still more to “attack” by storm surges, as New York so recently experienced. The rest of the country could well expect increasingly violent and frequent storms. Furthermore, the short-term energy gain from using tar sands may in the long run be offset by the costs of diminished hydroelectric power and river navigability caused by droughts accompanying unabated climate change. Especially as extraction becomes increasingly energy-intensive, we are reaching a point where the danger of running out of oil is surpassed by the danger of using too much of it. We urge you join us by writing to the president and asking him to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and continue to lead the country toward more environmentally sound sources of energy.

Send your letter to the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500 or visit www.whitehouse.gov and follow the links to see how to submit comments.

David Gilbert Keith

David Gilbert Keith wrote on behalf of the Deerfield Energy Resources Committee.

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