Enviros flood State Department with anti-Keystone comments… from foreigners

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Environmentalists arguing that the Keystone XL pipeline is not in the American interest went to an interesting source.

They were able to submit more than 2 million comments opposing the pipeline to the State Department, which is making its determination on whether the project is in the country’s national interest.

But among the 2 million comments from environmentalists were more than 820,000 that came from foreign signers, including “South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, leader of the Australian Greens Christine Milne and Spain’s former secretary of state for climate change Teresa Ribera,” reports the Washington Post.

The international liberal group Avaaz sent in more than 954,827 to the State Department in opposition to the Keystone pipeline which will bring Canadian oil sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. But only 65,938 of those comments were from the U.S. and 66,817 were from Canada — the only two countries where the project will be located.

The rest of the 820,000-plus comments came from foreigners who argued that the pipeline should be blocked because of its impact on global warming and the environment.

“The verdict on whether to approve or reject the Keystone XL pipeline could, in just one stroke, confirm or condemn America’s prospects for climate leadership,” wrote Tutu and other b-list celebrities and scientists to the State Department.

“This is a US policy decision that will have truly global significance. Keystone XL is his chance to set a correction course on US energy policy and open up a new clean energy future,” Tutu and the others added. “We hope he does.”

The letter was also signed by anti-Keystone activist Daryl Hannah, who was arrested in front of the White House for protesting the project last year, and former NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen, a global warming activist who is set to testify on Keystone Thursday.

The foreign environmentalist comments make up nearly half the total submitted by the anti-Keystone crowd and helped them double the 1 million comments submitted by the pro-Keystone side.

“The U.S. State Department asks its citizens if something is in America’s best interest, and the [environmental non-profits] claim opposition by asking foreigners,” Consumer Energy Alliance spokesman R.C. Hammond said in an email to the Washington Post.

The energy industry-backed CEA brought in 498,790 comments, all from Americans. Another half million comments came from the American Petroleum Institute, all from registered U.S. voters.

“Our focus is on approving the pipeline and our comments illustrate how important this project is for American jobs and for protecting our national security interests,” API spokeswoman Sabrina Fang told WaPo.

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