Small Businesses Oppose Tar Sands Pipeline; Sit-in Continues

Two sustainable business organizations representing 5,000 small businesses sent a letter to the White House yesterday calling on President Obama to reject the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and, instead, invest in clean energy technologies.

The nation’s largest environmental NGOs, several large unions, the NY Times are among those that have also sent letters and spoken out against the tar sands pipeline.

In their letter, the Green Business Network and the Green Chamber of Commerce state the pipeline would further the United States’ addiction to oil and risk disastrous new oil spills in rivers and the Ogallala aquifer, while significantly raising greenhouse gas emissions.

The letter reads:

"The impacts of global warming — from droughts, to floods, to extreme weather – are bad for business in the United States. As we saw in the Gulf, oil spills also have a devastating impact on the economy. The failure to shift America away from its dependence on oil to cleaner fuels will further imperil our economy and reduce the number of green jobs we need for sustainable economic growth.

"Your administration has taken bold and necessary steps to increase the green energy economy in the US. Now, we urge you to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, and further invest in clean energy technologies. It is the right decision for the US, and it is the right decision for business."

Secretary Chu on the Pipeline

The opinions of the national environmental community, unions and now small business, are falling on deaf ears.

Earlier this week, the State Department approved the pipeline saying it would pose little environmental risk.

And Dept of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu signaled his support for the pipeline this week, according to The Hill.

In an interview with the television program, energyNOW! he noted the advantages to purchasing oil from politically stable Canada. 

“It’s certainly true that having Canada as a supplier of our oil is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil,” Chu said.

He also said extraction technologies for tar sands are "improving dramatically," a line of reasoning the State Department also used. 

Chu hasn’t explicitly stated his approval for the pipeline yet, saying it’s a "tradeoff" and that the final decision will be made by the State Department. 

Protest Continues

Whatever decision the State Department makes, President Obama has the ability to block the pipeline by executive order, which is why protestors continue to turn up at the gates of the White House. 

So far, more than 700 people have been arrested in two weeks of sit-ins, including the world’s leading climate scientist James Hansen.

If you aren’t familiar with the controversy, here’s the background:

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