President Obama is about to decide whether or not the largest and dirtiest pipeline in US history can be built on American soil -- which would be catastrophic for our climate and our planet -- and we have until April 15 to tell the President and the State Department to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
I know firsthand how this pipeline is impacting local communities. For the last two years, I have been fighting tooth and nail to stop TransCanada, a Canadian oil company, from seizing my land by claiming it has “eminent domain” rights to the farm my family has owned since 1948. TransCanada wants to build their pipeline right through my property -- and right through farms, grasslands, and communities from Montana to all the way to Texas, where I live.
The potential dangers of this pipeline are well documented. Last month, the State Department released a report detailing the environmental problems that could arise if Canadian oil companies are allowed to build their proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Tar Sands oil creates 17 percent more greenhouse gases than natural crude oil already refined in the United States. The report even says construction phase of the project would result in carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to about 626,000 passenger vehicles operating for a full year.
Keystone XL would put farmland, like my family’s, at risk for soil erosion and contamination along nearly half of the 800 mile pipeline. Endangered species -- like the greater sage grouse and whooping crane -- will be threatened. And, when there are spills, the results for local communities who will find their water and farmland contaminated with toxic tar sands sludge will be devastating.
Many don't know it, but TransCanada is already moving full steam ahead constructing their Keystone Gulf Coast Section. When President Obama denied Keystone XL permit for the first time last year, the project was broken into two pipelines. This southern segment crossing Oklahoma and Texas is already half way done, but TransCanada hasn't crossed my land yet -- all the more reason to deny the big brother section, the Keystone XL.
When TransCanada began their attempts to bully us off our land, I vowed to fight for my farm. But now, after learning about what Keystone would mean for the world, I am fighting for so much more. People from all around globe have come together to support what I'm doing (and folks from across the country are coming together for a benefit concert for the farm on April 20). The response has been overwhelming.
President Obama rejected the pipeline once before, and he has repeatedly talked about his commitment to the environment and finding solutions to climate change. He has the power to stop this project once and for all and show his commitment to supporting other sources of job-creating, environmentally sustainable energy.
Please, stand with me against the Keystone XL pipeline.