Credo Action

Demand Transparency in the Final Keystone XL Decision

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Petition to President Obama and Secretary Kerry:

The Keystone XL pipeline is the biggest test yet of President Obama's commitment to act on climate. If Secretary Kerry is truly committed to a transparent process, he should make the State Department's recommendation to the president public before the final decision.

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    Demand Transparency in the Final Keystone XL Decision

    We’re now just weeks from a possible final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. And yet it’s possible that the members of the Obama administration will leave us in the dark on which direction they are leaning, and when the decision will come. We possibly won’t know the state of deliberations and the position of the State Department and key cabinet agencies until after the final decision is made.

    The president told a gathering of governors in February that he would be making his final decision in the coming months on what has become the biggest test of the Obama presidency on his resolve to act on climate.

    That time frame coincides with the first week of May, which is the earliest point that the State Department could conclude its National Interest Determination process and make a recommendation to the president. But there is no indication that the State Department’s recommendation to the president will be made public before it is finalized.

    The State Department says it continues to review the “presidential permit” application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in a “rigorous, transparent, and objective manner.” By that standard, the agency should let us know when it has made its recommendation to the president, and what it is.

    Tell President Obama and Secretary Kerry: We demand transparency in the final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

    When the State Department issues its forthcoming recommendation on whether or not to grant TransCanada a permit to build Keystone XL, agencies like the EPA, Department of Interior and others have up to 15 days to weigh in and disagree before it becomes the president’s final decision.

    But if we don’t speak out, the State Department’s recommendation will likely be kept secret until the final decision is announced.

    We have high hopes that Secretary of State Kerry will be true to his legacy as an environmental champion and make the right call on Keystone XL. But if the long and drawn out Keystone XL evaluation process has shown us anything, it is that his State Department can’t be trusted to adequately assess the true impact of Keystone XL.

    But even with the State Department’s dramatic under-calculation in its final environmental report (an independent analysis by the Carbon Tracker Initiative found the climate impact to be nearly four times higher1) the report still clearly shows that the pipeline fails the climate test the president set, adding up to 1.4 billion metric tons of CO2 to our atmosphere over 50 years,2 or the equivalent of the annual emissions of almost 300 million cars!

    Americans have submitted millions of public comments opposing Keystone XL — including more than half a million submitted by CREDO activists — and thousands have even risked arrest to urge President Obama to reject it.

    With a final decision possibly imminent, if Secretary Kerry is truly committed to a transparent process, he should make the State Department's recommendation public before it becomes a final decision.

    Tell President Obama and Secretary Kerry: We demand transparency in the final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

    1. "Report: How The State Department Got Keystone XL’s Climate Impact Totally Wrong," ThinkProgress, 3/4/12
    2. "A deeper dive: State's environmental review of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline shows it is not in the nation's interest," NRDCC, 2/3/14