Obama and Kerry: Stop Enbridge's illegal tar sands pipeline expansion scheme
President Barack Obama has yet to make a decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, but he’s said over and over that he’s committed to a thorough review process that takes into account its full climate impact.
Explosive emails released last week call his administration’s commitment into question. President Obama’s State Department colluded in 2014 with Canadian pipeline company Enbridge to fully evade that process, and approved an expansion of its Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline which puts it on the scale of Keystone XL.1
The State Department issued the approval without public notice, comment period or environmental evaluation. The project is still under construction and the pipeline isn’t at full capacity yet – so there’s still time to stop it.
Tell President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry: Immediately shut down Enbridge’s illegal pipeline expansion scheme.
The emails are a stunning window into a State Department that seems far more eager to serve a Canadian oil company’s construction timeline than to fulfill its obligation to uphold the law or protect the American public’s health and safety.
One State Department attorney-adviser wrote in an email in March 2014, “...they expect to break ground in a month… so we have to wrap this up.” A week later, she wrote “...they are planning to do that [drilling] in mid-April, i.e., 2 weeks from now, so we’re running out of time on that one.” Less than a month later Enbridge’s scheme was approved.
The scheme allows Enbridge to skirt the approval process for expanding the capacity of its Clipper pipeline from 450,000 barrels per day to 880,000 and completes a system of three pipelines connecting Alberta tar sands to U.S. refineries which has been called the “Keystone XL Clone.”2
Tell Barack Obama and John Kerry: Immediately shut down Enbridge’s illegal Keystone XL clone.
With the blessings of the State Department, and with no environmental evaluation, Enbridge has entirely rebuilt and massively expanded a nearby section of 50-year-old pipeline across the Canadian border, calling the process “maintenance.” The older pipeline was permitted 50 years ago with no capacity limits. The State Department has been evaluating for a few years Enbridge's application to expand its Clipper pipeline directly across the border. Yet without review, comment or notice, the State Department allowed Enbridge to do essentially the same thing, by replacing the nearby pipeline and attaching it to Clipper.3
This makes no sense from a president who titled his Earth Day address “Climate Change Can No Longer Be Ignored.”4 But his State Department did just that by approving a brand-new, cross-border tar sands pipeline with no environmental evaluation! As we await President Obama’s decision on Keystone XL, this is a truly concerning development.
President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry should immediately halt Enbridge’s illegal expansion scheme, and submit it to a full review as required for any new pipeline.
- "State Dept accused of accelerating Canadian company's pipeline approval," Al Jazeera, 4/20/15
- "Emails: How State Department Secretly Approved Expanding Piece of Enbridge's "Keystone XL Clone"," DeSmog Blog, 4/20/15
- "State Department Approves Illegal Scheme for Doubling Tar Sands Flowing through the Great Lakes," National Wildlife Federation, 8/25/14
- Weekly Address: Climate Change Can No Longer Be Ignored, The White House, 4/18/15