The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
For Peace and Justice, Secretary Kerry Must Reject Keystone XL
By Jeff Cobb and Lauren Berlekamp
During the Vietnam War, as a Vietnam War veteran, John Kerry led from the frontlines as he protested the war, “I'm not doing this for any violent reasons, but for peace and justice, and to try and make this country wake up once and for all.” During his anti-war testimony before the U.S. Senate, he said, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”
Now as Secretary of State, history calls upon Kerry again to lead from the frontlines in the "war" against climate change, by advising President Obama to deny the Keystone XL pipeline permit. If Keystone XL is approved, scientists say it will be "game over for the climate" and we will not survive the resulting catastrophic, apocalyptic climate change. Teetering on the brink of runaway permafrost melt already, the tar sands will take us over the edge, unleashing an unstoppable tsunami of greenhouse gases two to 10 times those already emitted, as the permafrost melts.
Considering his trusted advice will directly influence the President's final decision, the question Secretary John Kerry should be asking himself is, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die on the Earth due to climate change? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for the mistake of approving Keystone XL?"
Today, a coalition of 26 environmental, religious and public interest groups sent a letter to Secretary Kerry asking him to throw out the State Department’s environmental review of the proposed tar sands pipeline, which was released shortly after he was appointed. The coalition is also calling for Environmental Resources Management (ERM), the consulting firm in charge of the review, to be banned from future federal contracts for lying about direct conflicts of interest, including working for TransCanada, the company planning the pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Texas.
"The public expects the State Department to perform a transparent and independent review of this project’s impacts on the environment and the global climate before the decision reaches President Obama’s desk," the groups said. "It is critical that the report on which the administration’s decision will rely on be free of any taint of impropriety or conflict of interest."
Earlier this month, after a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the State Department was unaware of the pipeline's exact route, a State Department spokeswoman also admitted to Postmedia News of Canada that their office did not try to verify whether ERM was telling the truth when it certified that it had no business ties to TransCanada.
- Fire ERM and disqualify it from future federal contracts.
- Start the environmental review process over with a new contractor that complies with the Federal Acquisition Regulation regarding conflicts of interest.
- Order an inspector general's investigation to determine "how a contractor with clear conflicts of interest was allowed to write the U.S. government's assessment of Keystone XL, and why the State Department has so far failed to bring those conflicts of interest to light."
Secretary Kerry must lead once again, "for peace and justice, and to try to make this country wake up once and for all" to the dangers of runaway climate change, and advise President Obama to deny the Keystone XL permit.
Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."