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Jimmy Carter comes out in opposition of Keystone XL pipeline

By Lydia Gilbertson | Google+

Making a decision on the Keystone XL is one of the hardest and most delayed decisions President Obama has had to make during his term as president. There have been many different lobbyists, celebrities, and activists vying for Obama’s attention on the issue. On Tuesday, Jimmy Carter and nine other Nobel Peace Laureates sent him a letter urging him not to build the pipeline. They cite the looming issue of climate change as the main reason to abandon the project.

“The tar sands are among the world’s most polluting oil and their growth in Northern Alberta has costs not only for our shared climate, but for the First Nations communities whose air, water, land, and human rights are being devastated by rapid expansion of tar sands production and related infrastructure.”

The Canadian tar sands’ environmental impact is the driving force behind the Keystone XL opposition. Tar sands oil produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions per barrel than conventional oil during its production alone.  It is estimated that by 2020 emissions from Alberta oil production will double the amount of carbon produced by all of Canada’s automobiles, and exceed the emissions from 85 different nations combined.

 

Canada Tar Sands Lake

Canada Tar Sands Lake

Massive toxic lakes are also created during tar sands production. In 2008 a flock of migrating ducks landed on one and all immediately died. These lakes span almost 600,000 feet each, can be seen from space, and are considered one of the largest human-made structures in the world. The environmental costs of the tar sands are steep. Building the Keystone XL encourages tars sands production by allowing it to be more easily transported to the United States.

Related Article : Keystone XL Debate Nearing an End Sparks Modern Protests

Most Keystone XL supporters believe that the development of the tar sands is inevitable, and that the oil will just be transported by rail rather than pipeline if it is not built. Last November, former President George Bush stated “If private sector growth is the goal and Keystone pipeline creates 20,000 new private sector jobs, build the damn thing.” The pipeline would transport 800,000 barrels of oil from Alberta per day. It would be a definitive way to grow the private sector of the economy.

Jimmy Carter is widely considered the most environmentally friendly president in U.S History, for not only passing environmental laws, but lobbying for them as well. He created the Department of Energy, passed the Soil and Water Conservation Act, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and various impactful amendments to the Clean Air Act. He also allotted the EPA funds to clean up abandoned toxic waste dumps around the country, conserving more than 100 acres and 26 rivers in Alaska. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his implementation of the Carter Center which actively promotes peace though its strife against disease, hunger, poverty, conflict, and oppression around the world. Carter is the first former president to come out against the Keystone XL.

He ended his letter to the president asking him not to underestimate how important this decision is.

“A rejection would signal a new course for the world’s largest economy. You know as well as we do the powerful precedent that this would set. This leadership by example would usher in a new era where climate change and pollution is given the urgent attention and focus it deserves.”

The letter was also signed by 9 other Nobel Price Laureates:

Shirin Ebadi (2003)- Iran

Leymah Gbowee (2011)- Liberia

Tawakkol Karman (2011)- Yemen

Mairead Maguire (1976) – Northern Ireland

Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992) – Guatemala

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (1980) – Argentina

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984) – South Africa

Betty Williams (1976) – Northern Ireland

Jody Williams (1997) – USA

Related Article : Keystone XL Debate Nearing an End Sparks Modern Protests

7 comments

  1. “If private sector growth is the goal and Keystone pipeline creates 20,000 new private sector jobs, build the damn thing.” This is the most misguided thing I have ever heard. Where will 20,000 new jobs be created? In Canada? Even if it does create some jobs in the US, it will lead to direct competition with our own oil markets in the marcellus and the bakken and most likely will drive prices down, and lead to a reduction of jobs in the long term.

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