An Open Letter on Keystone XL Pipeline

The following is a Letter I mailed to the president.  I also plan on mailing a similar letter to others in power to influence this decision.  I open it up for all to comment by all.


Dear Mr. President

If someone asks me to kill someone for money, is it justified if he would give the money to someone else to do the murder?  It would have happened anyway.  That is the same justification made by the environmental report about the Keystone pipeline.

“It will not impact the environment because they will find another way of moving the oil.”  Every other company with an invested interest is trying to move the tar sands.  Companies are increasing capacity of 60 year old pipelines to deliver tar sands oil.  Train tracks are being rebuilt to handle the tanker cars going over them.   They will move this stuff any way they can.

Stopping the KXL won’t stop the oil from flowing but it will stop 830,000 barrels a day from flowing.  That is the carbon equivalent of a million trees growing from seedlings for 10 years being dug out of the ground and through that pipe every day.  Who’s going to replant those trees?

Pipelines spill.  It’s a fact.  We now have spills more than once a week in North America.  The US has had 512 fatalities from pipeline incidents since 1986.  North Dakota had to build a website to keep track of the 300 spills they’ve had over the last 2 years.  Your own State Department says the Keystone XL could spill more than 100 times in its lifetime.

Alberta Clipper pipe exposed near Read Lake

Alberta Clipper pipe exposed on trail near Red Lake Minnesota

Where will you be when those spills happen?  Will you clean them up?  Will you be there with the paper towels to clean plants?  Will you stop the oil from sinking to the bottom of rivers?  Will you prevent our great aquifers from becoming useless?

If you stop this project you will be celebrated by those who elected you to office.  Sure some big oil companies will be mad and not donate to some non-existent campaign of yours in the future.  And your political foes will attack you.  But big business will find some new way of making money and politicians will find some way to attack you.  The criticism will fade.

But if you approve this, if you OK the building of this pipeline, it will not be the end of it.  There are ranchers ready to fight for their land, farmers who will protect their water.  Then there are the environmentalists and Native Americans who are shouting “Idle No More!” and will put the bodies on the line to stop this, who will give up their freedom, their lives.  There are those willing and able to sacrifice everything to protect mother earth.  To stop the very thing you let happen.

Mr. President, stop this pipeline so people can fight the other battles already taking place.  With a word you can end this and be a hero or begin the next battle and be the betrayer.  It is your decision to make.

Make the decision that your kids proud.  Leave a legacy that your grandchildren will be honored by and honors them.  Say no to Keystone XL pipeline.


Toby Sterling

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