Press Release

Nurses Call on President Obama to Take the Next Step on Climate Change and Fully Reject Keystone XL

The nation’s largest organization of nurses welcomed the call by President Obama today for action on climate change. But the President’s statement on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline that “our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of climate change,” does not go far enough, says National Nurses United.

“The evidence is already in,  said NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN. “Like the debate on climate change itself, the jury is no longer out on KXL. The nation’s leading scientists are in agreement. The Pipeline will accelerate the harmful effects of climate change. And, as nurses know, it also poses a clear and present danger to the health of the American people.”

“The President is right to call for strong measures to challenge climate change which threatens our planet, our health, our children, and our future. But we can not fight climate change without stopping the Keystone Pipeline”, a project that a top NASA scientist already called among the ‘biggest carbon bombs on the planet’ and ‘game over’ on climate change,  Ross noted.

“Our national interest is ‘not served’ by a project that would put hundreds of communities in jeopardy and put the entire planet at risk,” said Ross.

NNU last Thursday led a San Francisco march of 1,500 people across the Golden Gate Bridge, joined by members of the nation’s leading environmental groups, to oppose KXL.

“The chemicals infused in it for transport are highly toxic, so any spill is guaranteed to harm the local community.   And it emits carbon at a much higher rate than conventional oil, speeding up climate change.  KXL is a disaster,”  Ross said.

The march came on the same day the Environmental Working Group issued its study of tar sands, based upon independent lab tests of a tar sand spill from a ruptured  ExxonMobil pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas, on March 29, 2013.  

Among the chemicals revealed in the tests were benzene, a known human carcinogen; xylene, which can harm the nervous system; chromium, linked to cancer and birth defects; and lead, a serious threat to the developing nervous system.  Study researchers wrote: “How many drinking water supplies or acres of farmland might be devastated by pipeline ruptures for months, years, or perhaps forever?”