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posted: 4/26/2013 5:00 AM

Obama should stand firm against pipeline

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Earlier this year I stood with 40,000 fellow Americans in Washington, D.C., calling on the president to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. The invigorating experience of standing among neighbors sharing a vision for our future left me feeling hopeful that the fate of the pipeline was not already determined. However, the release of the State Department's assessment of the project, finding the environmental impact low, proves that the fight for environmental justice must continue. Lack of awareness and education to the gravity of implementing the tar sands pipeline helps Big Oil push its agenda with little opposition.

I voted for President Obama to lead us into a cleaner future, and his rejection of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a significant and immediate executive action he can take following his State of the Union address and Inauguration Speech. In a recent Science article, scientists concluded the rise in temperature over the past 100 years cancels out the last 2,000 years of the Earth's 5,000-year gradual cooling trend. It's evidence that we cannot afford to unleash all the carbon stored in the tar sands.

I am failing to see the low environmental impact in the State Department assessment and the argument for U.S. interests in allowing the pipeline. I see a company with pipelines in Canada that had 12 leaks in the first 12 months, a company that is only offering 3,900 temporary construction jobs in America, and a company planning to export the dirtiest fossil fuel to Asian markets.

Optimistically, I also see the thousands of Americans fighting for renewable energy. We have to take the fate of our country into our own hands by urging President Obama to reject the pipeline and show there is truth to his rhetoric and we will move forward on the climate.

Melissa Brice

Elk Grove Village

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