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Payroll tax deal means Obama must now reject the pipeline

Posted Dec. 17, 2011 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

Payroll tax deal forces rushed decision on Keystone XL after Democrats cave to Republicans catering to big oil

Washington, D.C. — The Senate today passed a payroll tax cut deal that will force the Obama administration to decide the future of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline within 60 days.

The State Department has previously indicated that such a short timeline is insufficient to conduct an environmental review, and that if faced with such a timeline, it would therefore be forced to reject the permit application for the pipeline.

Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica had the following response:

"The deal passed by the Senate rushes the pipeline review process, making a credible, science-based review impossible. Because of this, and the great harm we already know the pipeline would cause, President Obama has no choice but to reject the pipeline.

"The Keystone XL pipeline is a carbon bomb that would devastate our climate by resulting in the use of vast quantities of tar sands oil that is much dirtier than conventional crude.

"The pipeline would threaten communities through America's heartland with costly and toxic spills — a spill from a similar pipeline last year shut the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and the ongoing cleanup has already cost more than half a billion dollars.

"The pipeline would also harm people at both ends, leading to more poisoning of drinking water near tar sands extraction sites in Canada and increasing air pollution that causes lung disease near refineries in Texas.

"If President Obama allows a deal cut in oily, money-filled congressional back rooms to lead to a pipeline that harms the public — and if he does without a credible, science-based environmental review — he will have failed one of the biggest tests of his presidency.

"Hundreds of thousands of Americans standing up for their land, water and future have said 'no' to this dirty and dangerous pipeline. It is time for the president to unambiguously join them. We will campaign aggressively to encourage him to do so."

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Friends of the Earth fights to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world. Our campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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