Democrats Abroad

Resolution to Stop the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

WHEREAS the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is designed to transport environmentally dirty oil extracted from Canadian tar sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries; and

WHEREAS the tar sands oil will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil because it will be refined for a primarily non-U.S. export market; and

WHEREAS extracting tar sands oil uses massive amounts of water resources and climate-damaging energy, destroying in the process hundreds of thousands of acres of Alberta’s wetlands and boreal forest which is an important carbon sink, and resulting in polluted wastewater pools that are dangerous for groundwater and wildlife including migrating birds; and

WHEREAS the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will cross through America’s agricultural heartland, the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, the Ogallala aquifer, sage grouse habitat, walleye fisheries and more; and

WHEREAS there are unique safety concerns posed by the particularly corrosive properties of diluted bitumen (raw tar sand oil), and that the submitter of the permit TransCanada predicted that its Keystone I tar sands pipeline would see one spill in 7 years when in fact there have been 12 spills in 1 year; and

WHEREAS a rupture in the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in America’s heartland could threaten the source of fresh drinking water for 20 million people; and

WHEREAS the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU), which both oppose the pipeline, stated in August 2011: “We need jobs, but not ones based on increasing our reliance on Tar Sands oil. […] Many jobs could also be created in energy conservation, upgrading the grid, maintaining and expanding public transportation—jobs that can help us reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy efficiency.”; and

WHEREAS climate scientists have been predicting for decades that global warming caused by human activity will lead to extreme weather events; and

WHEREAS in 2011 alone the United States has experienced the effects of climate change and natural variability in extreme weather events such as Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, the numerous deadly tornadoes in the Southeast and Midwest, the flooding of the Missouri River, massive snowfalls on the East Coast, the drought in Texas with resulting deadly and destructive wildfires; and

WHEREAS extreme weather events related to climate change continue to take place around world such as the ongoing drought in Russia and recent massive flooding in Pakistan and China; and

WHEREAS the effects of climate change are expected to have major negative impacts on U.S. national security, food security and economic security, and that in 2011 the United States reached an all time annual high of climate-related events costing more than $1 billion each, with over 10 such events by September of that year; and

WHEREAS climate scientists predict that massive droughts exceeding Dust Bowl levels of the 1930’s such as the drought currently being experienced in Texas will exist across much of the United States, including the breadbasket region, as soon as 2030; and

WHEREAS one of the world’s leading climate scientists, NASA’s top climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, says that fully developing the tar sands in Canada would add the equivalent of an additional 150 parts per million (ppm) of the greenhouse gas CO2 into the atmosphere, adding to the current approximately 390 ppm, a figure that is rising without the addition of the CO2 that would be generated by consequences of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline; and

WHEREAS according to Dr. Hansen this additional CO2 would essentially mean “Game Over” for the climate – in other words that it would become impossible to reduce rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere to a safer 350 ppm and thus avoid a predicted collapse of civilization; and

WHEREAS building the pipeline would increase the likelihood that humans will not be able to reverse rising levels of greenhouse gases and the increasingly dangerous, violent and fatal effects of global warming,

LET IT THEREFORE BE RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad supports all efforts of fellow Democrats to prevent the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from being built.

Adopted by the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (Democrats Abroad), Arlington, Virginia, October 16, 2011.