Green Party: President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline is a step forward, but the TPP trade pact would be a big step backward
Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, email@example.com
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders hailed President Obama's decision to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and said that the credit for the defeat should go to those who kept pressure on the White House, including ranchers, tribal nations, and residents near the pipeline's route and all those concerned about the effects of fossil-fuels on the world's climate.
"This pipeline would have irreparably poisoned our land, waters, and climate. The toxic process of mining tarsands is preventing Canadian First Nations from living according to their traditional ways of hunting and fishing. Running a pipeline through the fragile sandhills would have violated treaty rights with indigenous tribes and property rights of citizens across the Midwest. It promised to pollute not only our country's agricultural breadbasket, but also the largest freshwater aquifer in the world, the Oglála. The refinement and burning of this crude tarsands oil is wiping out hopes of reining in a climate disaster," said Charles Ostdiek, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and co-chair of the Nebraska Green Party.
But Greens said that, while the White House's rejection was a step forward in the effort to prevent a global climate crisis, approval of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would represent a major step backwards.
"President Obama's promotion of the TPP undermines his stated dedication to curbing global warming. The trade pact would grant legal privileges to polluting corporations and jeopardize U.S. jobs, public health and food-safety protections, and open access to the Internet, by trumping the jurisdiction of U.S. courts in these areas," said Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party of the U.S. and co-chair of the party's Eco-Action Committee.
"The Green Party calls for fair trade instead of so-called free trade. There's nothing free about agreements like the TPP. They serve mainly to boost the profits and global power of major corporations, to the detriment of the rest of us and the health of the planet," said Ms. Clement.
Publication of the TPP text last week, following earlier leaks by Wikileaks of excerpts, led to sharp condemnations by labor, environmental, and public interest groups: see "'Worse Than We Thought': TPP A Total Corporate Power Grab Nightmare" (Common Dreams, Nov. 5, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/11/05/worse-we-thought-tpp-total-corporate-power-grab-nightmare).
Green Party leaders noted that the pipeline rejection and TPP text release coincided with news that New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman is investigating ExxonMobil in the wake of revelations that the company concealed its own scientists' research (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/11/05/3719767/investigate-exxon-new-york-attorney-general).
The concealment amounts to a cover-up of evidence that Exxon knew of the danger that fossil fuels pose to the world's climate as far back as the 1970s. The cover-up has been compared to the tobacco industry's cover-up of research proving the harmful effects of nicotine.
"The Green Party supports investigation and prosecution of Exxon in New York and all efforts to make the oil industry legally accountable for inflicting environmental damage and lying about the effects of their product and the reality of global warming. Exposure of the Exxon cover-up should permanently discredit climate-change skepticism and motivate an aggressive effort to eliminate the consumption of fossil fuels," said Mark Dunlea, New York Green and attorney helping to coordinate a state-wide campaign for 100% renewable energy by 2030. Mr. Dunlea lobbied the Attorney General's office to launch the investigation.
Greens have called for a ban on deep water oil drilling, mountaintop detonation mining for coal, and hydrofracking for natural gas and shut-down of all coal, fossil-fuel, and nuclear plants by 2025.
Party members called legislation introduced recently in Congress to keep fossil fuels in the U.S. under ground a necessary step. The bill would deny leases for coal, oil, gas, shale, and tar sands extraction on federal land, ban offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, and block new and non-producing leases in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico ("Keep It in the Ground Act of 2015," http://www.sanders.senate.gov/download/keep-it-in-the-ground-act).
Green Party leaders in the U.S. and around the world will press for such goals at events planned to coincide with the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21), which will take place in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
Green Party candidates have advocated the "Green New Deal" (http://gp.org/GreenNewDeal), which would make a massive transformative investment in renewable clean energy, putting tens of millions of Americans back to work by building sustainable energy systems such as wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, and energy conservation and efficiency and by investing in mass transit and organic agriculture.
Greens have proposed an annual fund of several hundred billion dollars to finance the Green New Deal through major cuts in Pentagon spending, a carbon tax, holding fossil fuel companies financially responsible for climate change, an end to tax subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear, and higher taxes on the wealthy (e.g., a financial transaction tax).
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