November 17, 2014

Pushing Through a Keystone XL Bill Is a Big Mistake

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists

Washington, DC (Nov. 17, 2014)—Members of the U.S. Senate are trying to force a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline, which, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), would take the country in exactly the wrong direction.

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Vehicles Program at UCS.

“The Keystone XL pipeline has become a symbol of how misguided the energy debate is in Congress, and how desperate oil companies are to go after resources that are dirtier, more dangerous and more expensive to extract. The pipeline would transport tar sands diluted bitumen, a material that’s particularly bad for the climate because it is highly energy-intensive to extract and refine, resulting in approximately three times more greenhouse gas emissions than producing a barrel of conventional crude oil.

“The Keystone XL pipeline would undermine the critical need to cut oil use.  We need to be using less oil, not unleashing dirtier fuel. The U.S. could cut its projected oil consumption in half over the next 20 years by enacting and strengthening efficiency standards that require cars and trucks to go farther on a gallon of fuel and accelerating the market for electric vehicles and low-carbon, non-food based biofuels. We’ve been making real progress in these areas already and need to stay the course.

“Building the Keystone XL pipeline would be a step back from recent progress we're seeing on climate—the U.S.-China agreement, new rules on power plant emissions, real results from strong vehicle standards and extraordinary growth in wind and solar power.

“This is a cynical political move and it’s a distraction from what Congress should be doing to confront climate change and encourage innovation in the energy sector.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.