Welcome!

News Feed Item

Tom Steyer Letter to Secretary Kerry Regarding the Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement

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 the State 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 that I have the utmost respect for the leadership you bring to the State Department when 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 us have been heartened to hear that amidst your many pressing responsibilities, you intend to take an active role in advising the President on his decision regarding the Keystone XL pipeline.

In light of the concerns enumerated below, I urge you to launch an independent and transparent review of the work product contained in the Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) released last Friday.

Of particular concern are FEIS conclusions that conflict with and are contradicted by tar sands industry executives who confirm that they need the pipeline in order to continue to develop the tar sands and to reach international markets. The FEIS fails to consider that construction of the KXL pipeline is a necessity to fully maximize extraction of tar sands. 

Attached is an analysis of such assertions by tar sands executives, which includes such statements as:

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, it does 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 assertions being 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, while TransCanada's CEO has asserted that "every" drop of crude would stay in the United States, company officials have refused to testify to this when appearing before Congress. And to this day, TransCanada has refused to explain whether or not the refined oil will be shipped to economic competitors such as China, which has a significant investment in the project.

The failure to address the assertions made by tar sand oil executives that the pipeline is the key to unlocking the tar sands is 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 to use the FEIS as a trusted document.  

These problems include:

  • The hiring of a TransCanada contractor – Environmental Resources Management (ERM) – to write the FEIS.
  • ERM's problematic representations about its ties to the tar sands industry on its conflict of interest disclosure form.
  • The Inspector General's investigation into this deception, an action taken only after persistent pressure from public interest groups.
  • Additional conflicts (herehere and here) that have come to light since the Inspector General's investigation began.
  • Repeated quotes (e.g., here and here) to news outlets from named and unnamed staff members at the State Department boasting of "rigorous conflict of interest procedures…" that "… ensure that no contractors or subcontractors have financial or other inappropriate interests in the outcome of a project." This assertion continued to be made even after the Inspector General's investigation was announced.
  • The unsurprising tilt of the draft FEIS toward ERM's client, TransCanada.
  • The interagency criticism (here and here) that the draft EIS drew because of its deep flaws.
  • The nearly identical nature of the final FEIS to the draft EIS, despite significant, contradictory information coming to light after the draft version was issued. This includes ignoring the realities of tar sands transportation, and estimates that Keystone XL would produce the pollution equivalent of more than 50 coal 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.
  • The apparent rush to get the EIS out the door before the Inspector General's investigation was complete – despite a recent request by over 20 House members asking that the FEIS be held until the investigation was completed.

And, in addition to this litany of issues that should disqualify this FEIS report from being used as a trusted document, there is now a report in the Canadian Press that seems to indicate officials in Ottawa were provided with the assurance that they would receive the favorable FEIS 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 direct pipeline 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

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Machine learning provides predictive models which a business can apply in countless ways to better understand its customers and operations. Since machine learning was first developed with flat, tabular data in mind, it is still not widely understood: when does it make sense to use graph databases and machine learning in combination? This talk tackles the question from two ends: classifying predictive analytics methods and assessing graph database attributes. It also examines the ongoing lifecycl...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named "Media Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Daniel Jones is CTO of EngineerBetter, helping enterprises deliver value faster. Previously he was an IT consultant, indie video games developer, head of web development in the finance sector, and an award-winning martial artist. Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams.
Enterprises are striving to become digital businesses for differentiated innovation and customer-centricity. Traditionally, they focused on digitizing processes and paper workflow. To be a disruptor and compete against new players, they need to gain insight into business data and innovate at scale. Cloud and cognitive technologies can help them leverage hidden data in SAP/ERP systems to fuel their businesses to accelerate digital transformation success.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Transformation Abstract Encryption and privacy in the cloud is a daunting yet essential task for both security practitioners and application developers, especially as applications continue moving to the cloud at an exponential rate. What are some best practices and processes for enterprises to follow that balance both security and ease of use requirements? What technologies are available to empower enterprises with code, data and key protection from cloud providers, system administrators, inside...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
Consumer-driven contracts are an essential part of a mature microservice testing portfolio enabling independent service deployments. In this presentation we'll provide an overview of the tools, patterns and pain points we've seen when implementing contract testing in large development organizations.
With more than 30 Kubernetes solutions in the marketplace, it's tempting to think Kubernetes and the vendor ecosystem has solved the problem of operationalizing containers at scale or of automatically managing the elasticity of the underlying infrastructure that these solutions need to be truly scalable. Far from it. There are at least six major pain points that companies experience when they try to deploy and run Kubernetes in their complex environments. In this presentation, the speaker will d...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...