Because I think not approving the proposed Tar Sands Pipeline is really essential if we hope to reverse the effects of climate change (whether human-caused or not; I really don't care where you stand on this issue at the moment!) and leave a world in which our children can live, I'm hoping to get actual people to send actual letters to the White House. I hope this will help President Obama (and others) realize that this is an issue about which people care and that we're paying attention to, and that we can and will hold him accountable for his actions.
(Although I think emailed letters are much better than nothing at all, I definitely think that phone calls and physical, hard-copy letters show a deeper level of commitment and are given more importance in the grand "tallying of what our constituents think" that we'd all like to hope actually matters to our elected representatives.)
Here's one of the many, many explanations why approving the pipeline would be a very, very bad idea: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/09/1000427/-President-Obama:-Just-Say-No-Tar-Sands-Pipeline-Rip-Off
Here's the website for Tar Sands Action, people who will be risking arrest to protest the permit in front of the White House: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/
I'll even send you a replacement stamp for the one you used, or paypal you the money to pay for a stamp, if that'd make the process less onerous.
I know writing a letter can be time-consuming, and I'm including some pre-written paragraphs that you can include in your letter if it would help. Or write your own -- that's even better; I'm just trying to make the process as easy as possible in the hopes that a few people will take action. PLEASE do so.
I’m writing to encourage you to deny the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The project is not only incredibly risky for the environment, it is also entirely unnecessary.
I'm writing to ask you to please deny the permit for the dangerous, unnecessary Keystone XL pipeline.
Please refuse the permit for the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline.
The Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline is dangerous, unnecessary, and has the potential to be absolutely devastating to the environment. Please deny the permit request.
The pipeline crosses under more than 1,000 bodies of water. They include the Oglala Aquifer, which is responsible for the drinking water of more than 2,000,000 Americans and enables more than 20% of the nation’s agricultural production. A spill there would be beyond devastating, yet it wouldn’t actually be at all surprising: though TransCanada predicts only eleven spills over the first 50 years of operation, they’ve already had twelve spills in less than a year on the existing pipeline. Clearly their predictions can’t be trusted, and we simply can’t afford to further endanger our diminishing water supplies.
The pipeline would pass under the Missouri, Platte, and Yellowstone rivers, and as you know the Yellowstone River was already the site of a recent spill. The Keystone XL pipeline would be 20 times larger than Exxon’s Silvertip pipeline that, damaged by erosion, gushed “only” 1,000 barrels into the river on July 1. Don’t let so much of the nation’s water supply and our valuable wild areas and agricultural land be put at risk.
The pipeline would pump raw tar sands oil through pipes and infrastructure that are designed to handle the comparatively better-behaved traditional, crude or processed oil. We saw how well that worked when the Keystone I Pipeline's spill at a North Dakota pump station spewed over 21,000 gallons of oil in mere minutes. And that was because of the failure of a single, 3/4" fitting, operating under standard conditions.
Additionally, the Energy Department even says that we currently have the capacity to double our oil imports from Canada; there’s simply no need for the pipeline and all the dangers it represents. I've even seen reputable sources say that the pipeline, straight to coastal refineries, is primarily requested to make exporting oil to other countries easier and cheaper. Is that truly what we want to do?
Equally importantly, though, if not even more so, is the devastating long-term environmental impact, with greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands oil more than 80% greater than from the conventional crude the US currently refines. In a world where we’re desperately trying to avert environmental catastrophe, there’s simply no justification for this.
Climatologist Jim Hansen says that, if we have any chance of getting back to a stable climate, “the principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground.” In other words, he added, “if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over.” The Keystone pipeline is an essential part of the game. Please don't approve it.
President Obama, we elected you with such hope and determination. I was a proud “Mama for Obama,” believing that you really would work to make the world a better place for our children they might have. We truly thought that you would uphold your campaign promises to curb the effects of climate change and to do everything possible to save this world upon which we all live. We’ve watched, saddened and angered, as your compromises have made everyday life harder for millions and millions of Americans, but we still hold out hope that you can and will start abiding by your previous statements and work to save our environment. Please don’t let us down. Please don’t let political expediency stand in the way of doing what’s right, necessary, and entirely possible.
President Obama, I'm asking you to do what's right, rather than what's politically expedient. Please deny the permit request for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
As a father, you want the best for your children. We all do. Please deny the Keystone XL Pipeline. Give Sasha and Malia, and all our children, another reason to be proud of and thankful for your actions.
President Obama, I didn't vote for you. I haven't always agreed with the decisions you make or the reasons behind them. But this is a situation where the right thing to do is so very obvious and so incredibly necessary that I have no doubt that we'll be on the same side. Please deny the Keystone XL Pipeline.
As a lifelong Democrat, I have to admit that I've strongly questioned many of your recent actions. They're enough to cause me to question my party loyalty and my enthusiasm for your presidency. Denying the Keystone XL permit would go a long way toward restoring my faith in both our party and your ability to truly represent us.
President Obama, I'm a political Independent. I have never felt that any one party speaks for me; in each election I base my decisions upon principles and values rather than the letter next to the candidate's name. I voted for you because of who you are and what you stood for, and was hoping to be able to do so again in 2012. If you approve the Keystone XL permit, though, there is absolutely no way I'll be able to vote for your ticket.
This is an issue that transcends politics, and it amazes me that it's even at question. The right thing to do, the only thing to do, is to deny the Keystone XL permit.
I’m calling on you, counting on you to refuse permission for the Keystone XL pipeline.
In faith and hope,
Counting on you to do what's right,
(If you, like me, have forgotten the format for a business letter, here's a quick and dirty example:
Your Name Here
Your email address (the White House requests an email address; go figure)
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
Your text here.
(signature once you've printed the letter out)
Your name here
So you print the letter, sign it, put it in an envelope, address it to President Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, attach a stamp, and drop it in the mailbox. Then we all say "thank you," and cross our fingers, keep hoping and praying and working toward change. And if you feel like it, the White House Comment Line is: 202-456-1111. It's so easy to call and leave a message -- consider doing that too. :)