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Keystone Legacy

April 22, 2013 11:23 am ET
Today is Earth Day and also the deadline for the State Department's public comment period on its draft report on the Keystone XL pipeline's environmental impact, unless officials decide to extend it to allow full comments to be submitted. As we wait for the President to issue a decision on KXL, here's how to make the case for rejecting it in terms of its most powerful potential legacy -- global warming.

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CORE MESSAGE

If this pipeline is built, it will erase President Obama's progress on climate change.

Connect: What kind of a country and world do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?

Define: The turning point in the President's climate change legacy could be Keystone XL -- a pipeline built through America so Canada can move its dirty oil to foreign countries.

Explain: If approved, Keystone will cause as much carbon pollution as 50 coal plants each year, which could make our climate change goals impossible to meet.

Expose: Keystone will cancel out the benefits of the historic fuel economy standards put in place last year. If the President approves the pipeline, we will move backward on climate change, not forward.

Discredit: With Keystone, foreign countries will get the oil while America gets the toxic spills and contaminated water -- and our children get the worst impacts of global warming.

Lead: If our leaders are serious about the climate change legacy they'll leave to our children, they have to say no to a pipeline that will only disrupt our climate even more. Which will it be: Keystone or the climate?


ATTACKS AND RESPONSES


ATTACK: "Canada's tar sands would contribute little to climate change."
RESPONSE:

  • You can't be serious about climate change and also support the Keystone tar sands pipeline. Oil companies have repeatedly admitted that Keystone is critical to further developing Canada's tar sands oil, which could be "game over" -- we lose on climate change.
  • In fact, if approved, Keystone would be responsible for over 180 million metric tons of heat-trapping carbon pollution each year -- as much as the tailpipe emissions from nearly 40 million cars or over 50 coal-fired power plants.
  • If the President approves Keystone in his second term, it would lead to over 6 billion metric tons of heat-trapping carbon pollution in just a few decades -- enough to cancel out the carbon pollution prevented by the new fuel efficiency standards for cars he approved in his first term.
  • We have a duty to protect our country for our children and grandchildren and deal with climate change now. Helping oil companies transport dirty oil with Keystone XL isn't the way to do it.


ATTACK: "Keystone could create 20,000 jobs."
RESPONSE:

  • Those jobs numbers come from TransCanada, and they're wildly inflated. We need to focus on putting more Americans back to work in more long-term and good paying jobs right here in America -- like clean energy jobs, which are growing four times faster than other work.
  • Even with contractors hired by the pipeline developer writing it, the State Department report admitted that constructing Keystone would create 35 permanent jobs and 3,900 temporary construction jobs
  • Compare that to the fact that there are nearly 120,000 Americans with permanent jobs in solar energy alone -- including nearly 4,000 in the states through which Keystone would be built.
  • The pipeline also has the potential to kill jobs. A pipeline rupture would devastate farms and ranches  along the pipeline, just like the BP Oil spill devastated Gulf fishermen.


ATTACK: "Keystone will allow us to get more oil from Canada and less from the Middle East."
RESPONSE:


ATTACK: "Trust us, Keystone XL will be safe."
RESPONSE:

  • Another pipeline transporting Canadian oil spilled in Arkansas just recently. TransCanada had 12 toxic spills in one year of operating another pipeline, and their pipelines are prone to safety failures and spills -- including the one that flooded North Dakota with 20,000 gallons of toxic oil.
  • If we're going to risk building this pipeline to carry toxic, potentially pipe-corroding oil through two thousand miles of American farmland and over our country's largest water aquifer, Americans should get the benefits. Instead, America will get the risks while foreign nations get the oil.
  • If we learned anything from the Exxon and BP disasters, it's that spills are catastrophically costly. A spill would devastate farmers and ranchers along the Keystone route -- and could leave their kids and grandkids with contaminated drinking water for decades.
  • Keystone is all risk and no reward for America. The fact that Canadians don't want Keystone built across their own country tells us everything we need to know about the risks.


ATTACK: "Keystone will lower gas prices."
RESPONSE:

  • Nonpartisan economists have found that the Keystone XL pipeline will do nothing to reduce gas prices.
  • In fact, gas prices could actually increase as oil currently going to the Midwest gets diverted to the Gulf Coast for export.
  • To save money at the gas pump and secure our energy future, let's do what is already working -- make our cars go more miles on the same amount of gas, rein in the Wall Street speculators  who abuse the oil markets, and invest in homegrown clean energy that won't ever run out, like solar.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

 We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


 


Posted in - Energy - Economy - Environment - Jobs

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