NWF Holds New York and Boston Press Conferences Opposing Tar Sands

Local activists clad in black held news conference & silent rally at Canadian consulate to oppose proposed oil pipeline: The U.S. needs clean energy, not investments in dirty and dangerous fuel sources

07-08-2010 // Lauren Schuster, Esq., Staff Attorney, NYPIRG | The New York Public Interest Research Group & NWF

New York, NY – As part of a national day of action, local activists from the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), The Sierra Club-New Jersey Chapter, and The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) held a news conference and silent rally at the Canadian Consulate in Midtown Manhattan to protest TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.  The proposed pipeline would transport more than 900,000 barrels of tar sands oil each day from the Canadian Tar Sands in Alberta through five U.S. states into the Gulf region. 
“At a time when science demands that we reduce our carbon emissions, the country should not be investing in more oil.  Tar sands [synthetic crude] oil production causes three to five times the climate change pollution as conventional crude oil production,” said Lauren Schuster, NYPIRG Staff Attorney.  “The country needs aggressive investment in clean, renewable energy sources instead of investments in technology that will keep us hooked on dirty fuels for years to come.”
The extraction and refining of tar sands oil requires massive deforestation, tremendous amounts of fresh water, and leaves behind toxic and cancer-causing chemicals, including benzene, cyanide, arsenic, and mercury in its wake. 
“Continued development of tar sands will mar an area the size of New York and New Jersey combined and tar sands tailing ponds already take up an area twice the size of Manhattan.  The Gulf oil disaster has demonstrated that oil companies cannot effectively manage the risks of their operations -- we have no reason to believe it will be any different for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Americans don’t want any more risky operations like these,” said Emily Maxwell, NWF Regional Representative.
The Keystone XL Pipeline will cut through America’s agricultural heartland, the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, the Ogallala Aquifer, sage grouse habitat, walleye fisheries and more.  TransCanada has applied for a permit and the U.S. Department of State is set to make a decision in the coming weeks.  Local activists and environmental groups are determined to send a clear message that America has better energy choices than dirty tar sands oil.
"We will be turning one of the most important forested ecosystems in North America, with its pristine streams, rivers and wetlands into a man-made toxic desert, "said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.  “We are not only destroying a carbon sink, but will be unleashing tons of carbon into the environment through logging and burning all that oil.  Instead of a moving toward a green economy we are just doing more fossil foolishness."
If permitted, Keystone XL will lock us into a future where we are dependent on one of the dirtiest and costliest fuels in the world.  “What we need is greater efficiency and conservation, and the development of critical energy-saving technologies and policies – not another tar sands oil pipeline” said Mark Izeman, NRDC’s Urban Program Director.  It’s time for the U.S. to invest in clean, renewable energy that has the potential to create millions of jobs right here at home rather than allowing big oil to continue to boost its bottom line at the expense of our environment and our safety.

For More Information:
Lauren Schuster, NYPIRG, (347)729-4729
Emily Maxwell, NWF, (802) 222-1399         
Mark Izeman, NRDC, (212) 727-2700
Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, (609)558-9100