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For Immediate Release, July 26, 2011

Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

House Pushes Dangerous Keystone XL Pipeline,
Threatening Endangered Species Habitat and Dramatically Increasing Risk of Oil Spills

PORTLAND, Ore.— The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the North American-Made Energy Act, which mandates a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline by Nov. 1 regardless of whether the pipeline’s environmental impacts have been fully studied. The pipeline will bring oil from Canada’s tar sands — widely considered the dirtiest oil on the planet — and carve up habitat for numerous endangered species, including the black-footed ferret, whooping crane, American burying beetle, least tern and red-cockaded woodpecker.

“This bill circumvents environmental protections that keep our air, land, water and wildlife from being polluted,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Rushing construction of this pipeline before a full environmental review can be completed is a shameless giveaway to the oil industry.”

The legislation comes at a time when leaking pipelines have been in the news, including one that sent oil along at least 250 miles of the Yellowstone River near where the Keystone XL pipeline will be constructed. The pipeline will run from the tar sands in Canada through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. It will add to and expand the existing Keystone Pipeline, which has already been plagued by leaks.

“This pipeline is an environmental disaster in the making,” said Greenwald. “Critical habitat for endangered species will be destroyed and hundreds of miles of wild landscapes, rivers and streams from Canada to the Gulf Coast will be recklessly put at risk from a spill.”

Extraction of oil from tar sands generates from two to four times the amount of greenhouse gases as conventional oil production. It also requires the destruction of large areas of boreal forest, severely pollutes air and water, and requires massive amounts of water and energy for extraction.

“Instead of pushing building of the Keystone XL pipeline, legislators need to move toward more sustainable, less polluting sources of energy,” said Greenwald.    

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