Kudos go to Sen. Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree for their stand against the Keystone XL pipeline. The Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearings made it obvious that the primary beneficiaries of the pipeline would be wealthy American investors. The pipeline would create only a few dozen permanent jobs, and there is no guarantee that its construction would go to U.S. workers. Instead of contributing to our strategic oil reserves and national security, as proponents argue, the oil would go on the global market, raising the cost of oil here.

Environmentally, spill of this heavy crude would be devastating, as residents of Kalamazoo, Mich., know all too well. After a tar sands spill in the Kalamazoo River four years ago, billions of dollars have gone into the cleanup which is still ongoing. Despite the risks, Nebraska has given the green light to building the pipeline over the Ogallala Aquifer, a primary source of drinking and agricultural water that extends from Nebraska into Texas.

American taxpayers would foot the bill should a spill occur. TransCanada Corp., the company that would own the pipeline, is exempt from the 8 cents per barrel contribution to an oil spill liability fund that is required of American oil companies.

As for the impact on climate, the burning of tar sands oil creates 20 percent to 40 percent more carbon emissions than the burning of light oil.

The pipeline would send the message to the world that the United States is not serious about our commitment to clean energy and a healthy planet.

President Barack Obama says he will veto any bill approving the pipeline that appears on his desk. Future generations will applaud the foresight of Obama, King and Pingree for their stand against the Keystone pipeline.

Melanie Lanctot, chairwoman

Environment & Climate Change Subcommittee

Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network

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