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Faith Stands Behind President on Keystone XL Decision

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., January 18, 2012 — President Obama has just announced his decision against the issuance of a special permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. What follows is a reaction by Interfaith Power & Light’s President, The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham:

“Interfaith Power & Light applauds President Obama for demonstrating leadership in deciding against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. His actions today will help to ensure a clean, healthy and safe world for our children. Transporting dirty tar sands oil through the heartland of America will unnecessarily risk catastrophic damage to ecosystems and aquifers that millions of people depend upon for their livelihood. People of faith are called to be good stewards of God’s Creation, and to love our neighbors and take care of the vulnerable among us.

“For months, faith leaders have been speaking out against the Keystone XL pipeline at State Department hearings and in letters to the Administration and Congress. It is of great concern that Keystone 1 has had many more leaks than expected, and the 1 million gallon tar sands oil spill into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010 was a national tragedy. An EPA spokesperson said he has never seen anything like it – a heavy crude mixed with chemicals that sinks instead of floats, greatly hampering the multi-year clean-up effort.

“Our nation is on the cusp of a clean energy revolution. According to a Brookings[1] report released in 2011, more than 2.7 million people are working in the U.S. clean energy economy right now. Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that in 2011, America surged ahead of China[2] on clean energy investments. The new proposed fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks will save 2.2 million barrels of oil a day by 2025 – about double the amount the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would have delivered, and without the risk. 

“People of faith strongly believe that we need an urgent response to the climate crisis through continued implementation of better clean air safeguards, construction of a renewable energy grid, and more robust energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. The Keystone XL would only slow the pace of this clean energy transition, continue with business worse than usual, and hasten global warming. We can and must model a way forward for the world, create jobs, and care for God's Creation. Thank you Mr. President for making the right and moral choice to set us in that direction.”

[1] Brookings, Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment, (July 2011)

[2] Bloomberg New Energy Finance Statement,