Nurses Welcome Veto of Keystone XL Pipeline Bill
‘Next Let’s Reject Project Outright to Protect Public Health’
National Nurses United today welcomed President Obama’s veto of the Congressional legislative efforts to force the construction of the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline from the forests of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.
“With this veto the President has made an important statement on a project that poses a significant threat to public health and the climate crisis,” said NNU Co-President Karen Higgins. “That’s the leadership we need from the Administration. Now we urge the President to take the next step and further announce the U.S. will formally reject approval of the pipeline itself.”
“The minuscule number of jobs it would create are far outweighed by the enormous damage that this project creates to our health and in accelerating the climate crisis,” said Higgins.
While some contend that transporting the dirty tar sands oil by pipeline is safer than shipping it by rail or tanker, there have been five pipeline explosions across the country since January. Moreover, NNU has always said the totality of the damage from the mining, refining, and transport of tar sands are all reasons for the pipeline to be rejected.
Tar sands mining pollutants have been linked to cancer, leukemia, genetic damage, and birth defects. Tar sands pipeline spills have beset local residents with cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, and respiratory impacts, as well as persistent coughs, headaches, nausea, eye and skin problems.
Tar sands refining has been linked to ailments of the nervous and respiratory systems. Dust storms in Chicago and Detroit off piles of petcoke, the byproduct of tar sands refining, have coated homes and areas where children play and raised concerns about heart attacks, decreased lung function, asthma, already at epidemic levels in America, and premature death.
“Transporting 860,000 barrels of carcinogenic, flammable tar sands might be good for the Koch brothers,” Higgins said, “but it is certainly bad for the rest of us.”