Dear Secretary of State Kerry

Dear Secretary of State Kerry,

It is absolutely essential that you reject the recently submitted EIS for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The construction process itself poses threats to the environment, but even worse is the potential for leaks and spillage of the extremely toxic tar sands oil. Worst of all, however, is that the tar sands oil needs to stay in the ground. If it is extracted and burned, the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere will significantly increase the amount of climate instability that the USA (along with the rest of the world) is experiencing. The extreme droughts (and resulting wildfires) in the West; the flooding along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, and the uncharacteristically severe winter storms that have hit the Midwest, South, and Northeast can all be traced to an unprecedented warming of the oceans over which our weather forms. The question that you have in your hands is not whether or not the Earth will survive–it will–but whether or not the Earth will continue to be as hospitable a place for humans as it has been for the past thousands of years. The climate over that time has experienced some natural variation, but current levels of greenhouse gases are pushing it well beyond its historical range of variability. In other words, conditions now are like they have never been before. It is reckless and irresponsible to approve construction of a project that facilitates the release of more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when all the scientific evidence shows that it is imperiling the continued hospitality of the planet for human (and other) life as we know it. Throughout your adult life, you have often been in a position to save human lives–as a soldier in Vietnam, as a veteran opposing the war in Vietnam, as an elected official in Massachusetts and in the United States Senate, and now as US Secretary of State negotiating an end to conflicts in the Mideast and elsewhere. The decision over the XL Pipeline is another situation in which human lives have been placed in your hands; you are in a position to make a significant difference in the lives of billions of people now and in the future. Please act responsibly and reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. It might be the most important thing you have done in your long and distinguished career in public service.


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