The Top 10 Quotes from Today’s Keystone XL Hearing

Photo via Collin Rees of SustainUS
A packed senate hearing room with nurses, activists and others gathered to hear about the KXL pipeline. Photo via Collin Rees of SustainUS
Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a long-anticipated hearing on the Keystone XL Pipeline. This hearing aimed to explore whether the pipeline is in our national interest and included panelists such as esteemed climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, and Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune. Also testifying were Karen Harbert, president of the Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, and General USMC James L. Jones.

Opponents of the proposed pipeline argued that allowing Keystone to pass through the U.S. would be assuming a large amount of risk, with little pay off. The majority of this dirty tar sands oil would be exported, but not before passing through America’s heartland. Denying this pipeline would send a clear message that the U.S. does not want dirty tar sands oil passing through our communities.   Here are some of the best quotes from today’s hearing!

Top 10 quotes from the Keystone XL hearing:

1. “We’re screwing our children, grandchildren, all future generations if we think we can use those unconventional fossil fuels.”– Dr. James Hansen

2. “If we don’t approve KXL, much of Canada’s tar sands won’t be developed.”– Dr. James Hansen

Proponents of the Keystone pipeline like to argue that this tar sands oil will be developed regardless. But the truth is that Canada has been exploring other options and is hitting significant opposition. For example, native tribes in western Canada have made it clear that they will not allow a pipeline through their native lands.

3. “The choice is not whether to accepted increased risk by rail or pipeline, but whether to take the oil out of the ground”– Michael Brune

4. “It’s not about the pipeline. It’s really about tar sands oil. It’s carbon that’s the issue” – Senator Tim Kaine

Senator Tim Kaine gets it, this is not about the pipeline, it is about dirty tar sands oil that should remain in the ground.

5. “People say that the Keystone pipeline is a no-brainer. I’m sorry; I guess my brain works differently.”– Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Boxer gave a strong testimony, citing the vast health impacts as one of the primary reasons to reject the pipeline. Accompanied by nurses from across the U.S., she talked about the health impacts of living near refineries. Often these places will have much higher rates of cancers and asthma, especially in children.

6. “If you are in support of the environment, you are in support of the pipeline.”– Chamber of Commerce’s Karen Harbert

Really?? I think the large majority of environmentalists are going to have to disagree with Ms. Harbert on that point.

7. To which Senator Barbara Boxer responded: “When you said ‘If you are an environmentalist you are in support of this pipeline’, let me just say that is ludicrous on its face, please don’t speak for me, and please don’t speak for lots of folks who don’t see it that way.”

8. “The world is looking at us. you’ve gotta be lowering your greenhouse gas emissions, not increasing.” – Senator Ed Markey

Sandhill cranes are one of the many species that are impacted by tar sands development. Photo by Myrna Erler Bradshaw, NWF photo contest winner
Sandhill cranes are one of the many species that are impacted by tar sands development. Photo by Myrna Erler Bradshaw, NWF photo contest winner
9. “The right strategy is to make it cleaner tomorrow than today. To grow the pieces [of our energy structure] that are not carbon and to take the pieces that are heavy carbon and reduce them in size and carbon intensity”– Senator Tim Kaine

Tar sands is one of the most carbon intensive fuel sources. As we try to limit our overall carbon impact, it is important that we focus on reducing the most carbon intensive fuel sources.

10. “We’re all on the same boat. We will either sink together or find a way to sail together”– Dr. James Hansen

What KXL means for wildlife

We are all in the same boat, no matter your party (or your species!) you will be affected by climate change and dirty fuels projects. Keystone XL pipeline will cut through America’s agricultural heartland, the Missouri, Platte, and Niobrara Rivers, the Ogallala aquifer, habitat for sage grouse and sandhill cranes, walleye fisheries and much more. Migratory birds are especially at risk as many of their migration paths follow the proposed Keystone pipeline route. Habitat disruption in these areas would negatively impact these migrating species as well as the communities in the surrounding areas.

Take Action ButtonTake action now! Speak up for wildlife species and communities that would be impacted by Keystone XL and dirty tar sands projects.