Screenshot from the documentary "Dirty Oil" by Leslie Iwerks
Tar Sands

Keystone XL Pipeline: 40 SoCal Groups Call for Environmental Rethink


The State Department has issued a flawed environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that ignores its far-reaching impacts on climate and our environment. Tar Sands Action Southern California has prepared a commentary on behalf of 40 groups to be submitted to the State Department demanding a comprehensive reassessment of the significant and irreversible impacts on the environment not taken into account in the draft report released on March 1st. As of April 22, 2013, individuals can also send a message asking President Obama to reject the review, send the State Department back to the drawing board, and fulfill his promise to address climate change. See the links below.

Tar Sands action Southern California
The Honorable John Kerry
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

RE: Comments on the Draft Supplemental EIS on the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline (EIS No. 20130056)

Dear Secretary Kerry:

Tar Sands Action Southern California and 40 environmentally concerned organizations, businesses, and political representatives thank the US State Department for the opportunity to comment on this Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). We make up a coalition of organizations from all over Southern California expressing grave concerns with the draft review of this project. We suggest, on the basis of impacts to land, water, air and global climate, the Keystone XL Pipeline is not in the US national interest and should be rejected. The following are our comments on the draft SEIS.

Summary of Comments

Keystone XL Growth Inducing Impacts on Canadian Tar Sands

Canada’s tar sands industry has an ambitious long-term growth strategy inextricably linked to oil demand from the United States. This growth is projected to cause a doubling of the industry’s climate emissions within the next decade and would be the central reason why Canada fails to meet its carbon reduction targets. To achieve this growth the tar sands industry relies on large export pipelines to transport bitumen to the United States. If the tar sands industry is to realize its 5 million barrels per day production goal by 2030, all existing pipeline proposals will need to be built.

Photo from National Geographic
Called the most environmentally destructive industrial project on the planet, turning Canada’s Northern Boreal Forests into wastelands, poisoning wildlife habitats, freshwater rivers and streams, and First Nations communities downstream and downwind. Photo: Peter Essick, National Geographic

Impacts to Land, Water, Air, and Cultural Resources

The Canadian tar sands (the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin) have been called the “most environmentally destructive project on earth,” with good reason. Extracting tar sands bitumen from under the Northern Boreal forests of Alberta, Canada requires huge amounts of energy and water. It has cleared vast tracts of forest, left scars on the land that are visible from space and threatened the health and livelihoods of indigenous First Nations communities across the region. The impact to land, water, air and cultural resources from the Keystone XL-enabled tar sands region of Alberta would be significant, unavoidable and irreversible.

Climate Implications of the Keystone XL

Full exploitation of the tar sands would create a grave threat to the global climate. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that by pipelining 830,000 bpd of tar sands instead of conventional crude, Keystone XL will increase annual U.S. CO2 emissions by up to 27 million metric tons – the impact of adding about 5 million cars on the road. Additionally, tar sands processing produces a by-product called petroleum-coke, which can be used in coal-fired power plants and will release significant amounts of greenhouse gases that must be accounted for in this analysis.

tar sands oil spill
Recent spill of tar sands oil from the Exxon Pegasus into a cove of Lake Conway, Arkansas. A spill from the proposed Keystone XL would carry nine times more diluted bitumen and would threaten the Ogallala Aquifer, drinking water for six states. Photo: Karen Segrave – Greenpeace

Risks from Spills, Accidents, Blowouts from Tar Sands Pipelines

Transportation of tar sands diluted bitumen through pipelines also poses a significant, unavoidable, and potentially irreversible impact from spills to major rivers, streams and the Ogallala Aquifer, which support significant proportions of US agricultural products and drinking water for six US states.

Overall, we request that more attention to impacts be assessed on the issues of Tar Sands Market Analysis, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Impacts to the Global Climate, and Impacts to Water Resources from Potential Releases.

Read the letter signed by 37 Southern California organizations, businesses, and political representatives to be submitted by April 22, 2013, from Jack Eidt, Organizer, Tar Sands Action SoCal and Director of Wild Heritage Planners.

Comment Letter – Click Here: Keystone SEIS Comments – Tar Sands Action SoCal V2

Send your own comments to Email:

Join the Facebook 5,000 Comment Challenge: Click here

For more information on Tar Sands and Keystone XL: Click here.

“What is that pipeline?” By Aja Janae

Comments submitted on behalf of the following 40 organizations, businesses, or political representatives:

Allesandro’s Chapter of Coalition for Educational Justice

Ronni Solman

CEJ Steering Committee Member

Los Angeles Green Festival

Laurie Kaufman

Regional Director

Amazon Watch

Atossa Soltani

Executive Director

Los Angeles Greens + Green Party of Los Angeles County Council

Kamran Ghasri

LA County Outreach & Tabling Committee Co-Chair

Arroyo S.E.C.O Network of Time Banks

Autumn Rooney


Martin Luther King Coalition of Los Angeles

Kwazi Nkrumah and Julie Levine


Arts:Earth Partnership

Adam Meltzer

Director of Operations

Miss R*EVOLutionaries

Nanette Harrison

Co-Founder, Social Media Director

Sherry Anne Lear

Co-Founder, Political Action Director

Burbank Green Alliance

Jessica Aldridge

Executive Director

Mt. San Antonio College Environmental Action Group for a Livable Earth

Michelle Marin

Club President

California League of Conservation Voters

David Allgood

Political Director

Northeast Los Angeles Transition

Therese Brummel


Citizens Climate Lobby

Mark Reynolds

Executive Director

Occupy Long Beach

Sonny Pencr



Jodie Evans


Planet Rehab

Gary Mitchell

Executive Director

CRSP Institute for Urban Ecovillages

Lois Arkin

Executive Director

Residents Organized For a Safe Environment-Wattless Wednesday

Gene Stone

Founder-Conservation Activist, CA Chapter Head

Food & Water Watch

Alexandra Nagy


Masada Disenhouse

Steering Committee Member

Idle No More LA

Lydia Ponce
Cesar Padilla
Gina Debaca
Quimichipilli Bravo
Jose Carlos Lopez                                                David Dominquez
Richard Cano
Gray Wolf

Sierra Club Beyond Coal

Aura Vasquez

Organizing Representative

LA Progressive

Dick Price & Sharon Kyle

Editor & Publisher

Sierra Club, Angeles Chapter

Al Sattler

Chair, Angeles Chapter Climate   Change Committee

League of Women Voters of Los Angeles

Margie Engel

Chair, Climate Change Cmte.

The Appropriate Omnivore

Aaron Zober

Leslie Iwerks Productions, Inc.

Leslie Iwerks

Owner, Filmmaker

The Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment

Margaret Henke


Long Beach Coalition for a Safe Environment

Gabrielle Weeks

Executive Director

Transition San Fernando Valley

Bruce Woodside

Steering Committee Member

Long Beach Greens

E.B. Gendel


Frank Minero


Los Angeles Bioneers

Sara R. Nichols



Jerry Collamer


Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz
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  1. Diana Barahona

    I don’t understand what the State Department has to do with the Keystone XL pipeline. Isn’t that the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior?

  2. Diana Barahona

    How many actually paid attention to what Obama said in 2008?

    “All of us feel the impact of the global energy crisis. In the short-term, it means an ever-more expensive addiction to oil, which bankrolls petro-powered authoritarianism (President Hugo Chavez) around the globe, and drives up the cost of everything from a tank of gas to dinner on the table.

    Leadership must begin at home. That’s why I’ve proposed a CAP AND TRADE SYSTEM to limit our carbon emissions and to invest in alternative sources of energy. We’ll allow industrial emitters to offset a portion of this cost by investing in low carbon energy projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. And we’ll increase research and development across the Americas in CLEAN COAL TECHNOLOGY, in the next generation of sustainable biofuels not taken from food crops, and in wind and solar energy.

    We’ll assess the opportunities and risks of NUCLEAR POWER in the hemisphere by sitting down with Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile…

    Senator Obama’s remarks to the Cuban American National Foundation (a terrorist group), May 23, 2008

    • Clearly, Mr. Obama is a clean-energy pretender who maybe actually believes clean coal exists, but by banding together and speaking out, we become a counter-balance to the money of the Koch-Bros-et-al, and possibly force an environmental review that takes into account established science and credible risk analysis. With these words put into the public record, the probable litigation against the State Dept review has more teeth.

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