Even if the Obama administration approves the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline the US government will still not be able to purchase the tar sands oil for it's own use.
In 2007, President Bush signed into law Section 526 of the Energy Independence and National Security Act of 2007. It prohibits the US government, which is the largest single fuel purchaser in the U.S., from using taxpayer dollars to purchase fuels that have a higher carbon footprint than conventional oil.
The little known law is important because Congress crafted it to explicitly prevent the purchase of Canadian Tar Sands Oil because it is considered the dirtiest oil on the planet.
Meanwhile the Canadian government has been working behind the scenes to strike Section 526 from the books to clear the way for tar sands extraction. Using Freedom of Information requests, the Pembina Institute and Climate Action Network Canadian, uncovered a 2008 strategy memo by Canadian Embassy official Hélène Viau, which urged US oil lobbyists to send letters to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of State to show “concerns with regard to section 526 and argue that oil sands products should not be targeted by this provision,” and to develop “a comprehensive oil sands advocacy strategy to focus on outreach to allies, influencers, legislators, etc.”
There are other buyers for the tar sands oil who are waiting in line and they include private industry in US and the great fossil fuel markets of Asia and India. We have to stop the Obama administration approval of this pipeline, it would mean a regression of our fossil fuel policy and a disregard of section 526.
If President Obama elects to unilaterally disregard Section 526, the planet may be doomed. According to Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and one of the leaders of the Keystone pipeline protests, the burning the recoverable oil in the Alberta tar sands by itself would raise the carbon in the atmosphere by 200 parts per million (ppm). It wasn’t hard to figure out that this would increase the 390 ppm carbon in the atmosphere today by more than half. Indeed, it would increase the gap between the current level and the safe level of 350 ppm five-fold.
The leading NASA climate change specialist James Hansen summed up what’s at stake saying: “If the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over” for a viable planet
To make your voice heard go the Whitehouse petition site to sign the petition requesting the Obama administration to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. We need 5,000 signatures and already have 3,532. We need 1,468 by October 22 for a response by The Whitehouse.
Updated with information that there is clear evidence that Secretary of State Clinton has a conflict of interest tipping the scales in favor of the oil industry