HELENA, MT- Yesterday, the Biden administration issued a sweeping executive order laying the groundwork to immediately begin undoing Trump’s toxic environmental legacy. The new administration already froze many of the Trump administration’s last-minute lame-duck giveaways and rollbacks, many of which directly benefited narrow extractive resource specials interests. As the Biden administration and Congress begin to undo the worse and set a new, more sustainable path for our country, rhetoric cannot take away from the reality of the work that needs to be done.   

“It’s time for America to come together, thoughtfully face our collective challenges, and embark on a new day. The majority of Americans support President Biden’s plan to invest in renewable energy, address climate change head on, and protect our public lands and environment for generations to come. It’s long past time for Congress to cut through the special interest rhetoric and get to work for all of us,” said Jayson O’Neill, spokesperson for Accountable.US.  

Critics Say The 30 X 30 Plan Is Arbitrary And Unnecessary, But The Plan To Conserve 30 Percent Of US Land And Water By 2030 Is A Mainstream, Commonsense Approach To Mitigating Climate Impacts and Protect Public Lands 

RHETORIC: The Oil-Backed American Enterprise Institute Criticizes 30 X 30 As A “Rhyming Fiat” 

The American Enterprise Institute Calls 30 By 30 A “Rhyming Fiat” And Wants Renewables To Be Developed Gradually. “Densely populated and highly industrialized Europe in general, and Germany in particular, are too dependent on imported Russian natural gas and Middle Eastern crude oil: they need more electricity generated domestically by new renewables such as wind and solar. They also should develop these resources in a gradual, organic manner, not by rhyming fiats (20 by 20, 30 by 30). And all people reporting on those achievements should take a while to check their technical terms and the real numbers.” [American Enterprise Institute, 09/30/14

 The American Enterprise Institute Is Funded By Big Oil And Has A History Of Opposing Policies To Mitigate The Damage Of Climate Change. “Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasize the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.” [The Guardian, 02/02/07

REALITY: 30 X 30 Is A Mainstream Plan Supported By Americans, Dozens Of Countries, Even The UK’s Conservative Boris Johnson  

America Is Losing The Equivalent Of A Football Field Of Lands, Coastal Oceans, And Other Natural Areas To Development Every 30 Seconds. “Despite these worrisome domestic and international trends, the United States can still curtail the decline of its natural systems and protect a substantial portion of its remaining natural areas. Sixty percent of lands in the continental United States are in a largely natural condition or could plausibly be restored to a natural condition. Protecting 30 percent of the world’s terrestrial and marine habitats not only would reduce extinctions and safeguard food supplies, drinking water, and clean air, but it also would help prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, a threshold beyond which scientists say the costs and effects of climate change worsen significantly.” [Center for American Progress, 08/06/19

73% Of Westerners Across The Political Spectrum Support Conserving 30 Percent Of Lands and Oceans By 2030. “There is majority support across party lines for support for this lofty conservation goal. Climate change is the first or second most important environmental problem for each of the Western states. More than three-quarters of voters consider the loss of habitat for fish and wildlife to be a serious problem.” [State of the Rockies, Colorado College Poll, 2020]  

More Than 50 Countries Have Pledged To Conserve 30 Percent Of Their Land And Oceans By 2030. “A coalition of more than 50 countries has committed to protect almost a third of the planet by 2030 to halt the destruction of the natural world and slow extinctions of wildlife. The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, which includes the UK and countries from six continents, made the pledge to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans before the One Planet summit in Paris on Monday, hosted by the French president, Emmanuel Macron.” [The Guardian, 01/11/21

Even Boris Johnson Of The UK Is Joining The Commitment, And Paying Billions To Get It Done. “The UK government has also committed £3bn of UK international climate finance to supporting nature and biodiversity over the next five years. Johnson told the event: ‘We are destroying species and habitat at an absolutely unconscionable rate. Of all the mammals in the world, I think I am right in saying that 96% of mammals are now human being or livestock that human beings rely upon. That is, in my view, a disaster. That’s why the UK has pledged to protect 30% of our land surface and marine surface. Of the 11.6bn that we’ve consecrated to climate finance initiatives, we are putting £3bn to protecting nature.’” [The Guardian, 01/11/21

Big Oil Says Drilling In ANWR Is A Priority, But A Lease Sale Late In 2020 Was A Complete Bust 

RHETORIC: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Has A Valuable And Needed Oil Supply That Should Be Developed Quickly And Profitably 

Senator Murkowski Says That Drilling In ANWR Would Generate $2 Billion In Benefit Through Royalties And Lease Sales. “Murkowski contends royalties from the leases would generate about $2 billion over the next decade. Half would go to her state, and other half would go to the federal government, which could use them to help pay for Trump’s promised tax cuts to corporations and individuals.” [USA Today, 11/19/17

 Alaska’s Governor Says Development In ANWR Is Necessary For The Economy. “As governor of Alaska, I am compelled by our constitution to conserve, improve and protect Alaska’s natural resources and environment in a way that enhances the health, economic and social well-being of Alaskans. The Last Frontier’s economy depends on natural resource extraction, and I have seen firsthand that no one does it better. […] Washingtonians will benefit significantly from the responsible development of the 1002 Area as they have since the genesis of North Slope drilling. Thousands of your residents work in jobs that support Alaska’s oil industry, and many more will be created when the exploration and development of ANWR commences.” [Seattle Times, 10/05/20

REALITY: The Industry Had A Chance To Buy Up Leases In ANWR. The Sale Was A Complete Bust That Drew Almost Zero Interest From Industry 

 Major Oil Companies Did Not Bid At All Due To Unimpressive Oil Prices And Growing Numbers Of Banks Refusing To Finance Arctic Energy Projects. “But with lackluster oil prices and an increasing number of banks saying they would not finance Arctic energy projects, major oil companies did not try to buy the leases.” [Washington Post, 01/06/21]  

  The Sales Netted $14M, A Fraction Of What Republican Lawmakers Anticipated. “The sale of 11 tracts on 600,000 acres netted roughly $14 million, a tiny fraction of what Republicans initially predicted it would yield. Only two of the bids were competitive.” [Washington Post, 01/06/21]  

 The Alaska Industrial Development And Export Authority, A State Agency, Bought Had All But Two Of The Winning Bids. “That left the state agency, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, as the main bidder. The agency put up all but two of the winning bids, which went to a couple of small energy firms.” [Washington Post, 01/06/21

Keystone XL Pipeline Supporters Exaggerate The Project’s Job Potential In A Failing Energy Market And Underplay Its Devastating Environmental Impacts 

RHETORIC: Pipeline Supporters Boast About Job Opportunities  

TC Energy Has Boasted That The Pipeline Would Create Over 1,500 Jobs, But This Is For Construction Of The Pipeline Rather Than Long Term Job Opportunities. “TC Energy would not be able to employ a majority of the approximately 1,500 unionized construction workers, and approximately 300 administrative, inspection and management personnel it would otherwise employ for pipeline construction in 2020.” [New York Times, 01/18/21

Job Estimates Struggle To Accurately Account For And Reflect Short Term Jobs. “So those 4,000 construction workers in Montana who work for 19 weeks were turned into nearly 1,500 jobs on annual basis. All told, 10,400 construction workers, engaged for four- or eight-month periods, are expressed in the State Department report as 3,900 jobs — one position that is filled one full year — even though none of the jobs actually last a year.” [Washington Post, 01/06/15

 REALITY: A State Department Report Says KXL Would Only Create 35 Permanent Jobs 

 A Report From The State Department Stated The Pipeline Would Only Create 35 Permanent Jobs. “But buried in the 11-chapter report was a less sunny detail: the Keystone XL would create only 35 permanent jobs after the one or two years of construction jobs dry up. “Once the proposed Project enters service, operations would require an estimated 50 total employees: 35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors,” the State Department wrote.” [Newsweek, 02/12/14

 REALITY: KXL Would Need A Major Increase In Oil Prices To Be Profitable. 

 Keystone XL’s Fuel Is Produced From Tar Sands Bitumen, Releasing As Much As 37% More Carbon Than Conventionally Produced Fuel. “Fuel produced from tar sands bitumen leads to the release of more carbon than conventionally produced fuel, partly because more energy is needed to extract and refine it. A Canadian clean-energy group, the Pembina Institute, said the difference could be as much as 37 percent” [Bloomberg, 11/09/18

 Tar Sand Extraction Is Complicated And Expensive, Raising Concerns About The Pipeline’s Economic Viability. “But energy economists said that even if the company could clear all the legal hurdles, the economic viability of the project is murky. That is in part because the slumping global price of oil makes it unprofitable for companies to produce oil from the Canadian tar sands, a complex and expensive process that involves injecting steam and chemicals deep into the tar, in order to melt and extract petroleum.” [New York Times, 01/18/21

 Oil Prices Are Expected To Stay Below $50 A Barrel Through 2022, At Least $15 Below The Minimum Price Needed For The Keystone XL Pipeline To Be Profitable. “Economists generally estimate that the production of petroleum from Canadian tar sands is only profitable when global oil prices range between $65 and $100. But oil prices averaged only about $40 a barrel over the course of 2020 and are expected to remain below $50 a barrel through 2022, according to the Energy Information Administration, the statistics office of the Energy Department.” [New York Times, 01/18/21

REALITY: There’s A Big Chance The Keystone XL Pipeline Would Run Nearly Half Empty. 

 There Is So Much Extra Capacity From Oil Pipelines That Keystone XL Would Run Nearly Half Empty. “It is the latest instance of painful fallout from the oil boom, which raised hopes of a great new flood of crude from Canada’s oil sands. Those hopes foundered when markets and oil prices collapsed. But the pipelines built to ferry away the promised new oil have been built. So much extra capacity now exists that analysts believe when TransCanada completes its Keystone XL line – an expansion of Keystone that has yet to be constructed, but is expected to begin accepting oil in early 2013 – oil pipelines to the U.S. will run nearly half-empty.” [Globe And Mail, 04/27/10, archived 04/1/12

 REALITY: Keystone XL’s Fuel Production Creates As Much As 37% More Carbon Than Traditional Methods. 

 Keystone XL’s Fuel Is Produced From Tar Sands Bitumen, Releasing As Much As 37% More Carbon Than Conventionally Produced Fuel. “Fuel produced from tar sands bitumen leads to the release of more carbon than conventionally produced fuel, partly because more energy is needed to extract and refine it. A Canadian clean-energy group, the Pembina Institute, said the difference could be as much as 37 percent” [Bloomberg, 11/09/18

 REALITY: Keystone XL’s “Net-Zero Emissions” Goals Fail To Account For The Environmental Damage Caused By Using The Oil Itself. 

 Boasts From TC Energy About Keystone XL Operations Producing Net-Zero Emissions Fails To Account For The Emissions Resulting From The Use Of The Oil Itself. “TC Energy, the pipeline company previously known as TransCanada, has pledged to make its Keystone XL operations net-zero in emissions by 2023, which could eliminate more than three million tons of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases emitted every year, the equivalent of approximately 650,000 cars taken off the road, the company said in a statement. This would be a fraction of the emissions resulting from using the oil itself.” [Washington Post, 01/18/21

 REALITY: Indigenous Leaders, Farmers, And Ranchers Have Pushed Back Against The Keystone XL Pipeline Over Threats To The Environment And Waterways. 

 Indigenous Leaders, Farmers, And Ranchers All Raised Concerns Over The Potential Damage The Pipeline Could Cause Including Leaking Into Rivers Or Waterways. “In addition to opposition from environmentalists and climate experts, the pipeline has also sparked criticism from farmers, ranchers and indigenous leaders who do not want to be forced to let the pipeline company gain rights of way through eminent domain, and who fear that the pipeline might one day leak into rivers or aquifers.” [Washington Post, 01/18/21

 REALITY: The Keystone XL Pipeline Has Already Leaked Hundreds Of Thousands Of Gallons Of Oil. 

 In November 2017, The Keystone XL Pipeline Leaked 210,000 Gallons Of Oil In South Dakota. “TransCanada Corp’s Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in north-eastern South Dakota, the company and state regulators reported on Thursday.” [The Guardian, 11/16/17

 An April 2016 Spill Resulted In 17,000 Gallons Of Oil Spilling Into South Dakotans’ Private Land. “A leak and spill in south-eastern South Dakota in April 2016 prompted a weeklong shutdown of the pipeline. TransCanada estimated that just under 17,000 gallons of oil spilled on to private land during that leak.” [The Guardian, 11/16/17

 REALITY: The Pipeline Owner’s Nearly $15M In Environmental, Pipeline Safety, Labor, Energy Market, And Workplace Safety Violations. 

 TransCanada Changed Its Name To TC Energy in May 2019. “We changed the name of our company from TransCanada to TC Energy, following the approval of our shareholders at our Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders on May 3, 2019.” [TC Energy, accessed 01/19/21

 TransCanada Incurred An $8,000 Fine From The EPA In 2015 For “Environment-Related Offenses.” [Violation Tracker, 06/02/15

 TransCanada Incurred A $5,000 Fine For A “Workplace Safety Or Health Violation” In April 2008. [Violation Tracker, 04/27/08

 TC Energy Was Fined $427,223 From 2002 To 2017 For Environmental Violations. [Violation Tracker, accessed 01/19/21

 TC Energy Has Incurred $12,350,000 For Energy Market Violations From 2007 To 2015. [Violation Tracker, accessed 01/19/21

 TC Energy Has Been Fined $70,210 From 2007 To 2017 For Labor Relations Violations. [Violation Tracker, accessed 01/19/21

 TC Energy Has Been Fined $2,090,900 For Pipeline Safety Violations From 2002 To 2017. [Violation Tracker, accessed 01/19/21

 A Subsidiary Of TC Energy Was Fined $156,000 For Environmental Violations During Pipeline Construction As Recently As October 2020. “Columbia Gas Transmission LLC agreed to pay a civil penalty of $156,000 for environmental violations during the construction of its Leach Xpress gas pipeline in Richhill Township in Greene County, Pa. The TC Energy Corp. subsidiary will pay for the penalty, along with $1,126 in cost recovery, to the Greene County Conservation District as part of a consent order and agreement the company entered into with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection according to an Oct. 7 news release.” [SP Global, 10/08/20

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