On March 24, 2017, President Trump announced his approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and our local activist community did not hesitate to begin building the fightback! Organizers from 350 Seattle, indigenous leaders, and members of the #Defund DAPL coalition reached out to my office and asked me to co-author a resolution calling on the City of Seattle to not contract with banks investing in Keystone XL. On March 27, 2017, activists filled City Hall and presented the resolution, but the vote was delayed. We need to pack City Hall once again next week, on Monday, April 3, at 2 pm, to make sure Council votes to pass this resolution!
The world’s foremost climate scientist, James Hansen, has noted that “oil from tar sands makes sense only for a small number of people who are making a lot of money from that product…It doesn’t make sense for the rest of the people on the planet. We are getting close to the dangerous level of carbon in the atmosphere and if we add on to that unconventional fossil fuels [like crude bitumen extracted from tar sands], which have a tremendous amount of carbon, then the climate problem becomes unsolvable.” Simply put, Hansen has argued that “it would be ‘game over’ for the climate if tar sands were fully exploited.”
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Our obligation as elected officials to do everything we can to build the movement to stop tar sands couldn’t be clearer. That includes doing everything we can to defeat the Keystone XL pipeline. Read the resolution below, then join me on Monday, April 3, at 2 pm, for the final Council vote on this resolution to defund Keystone XL!
A RESOLUTION stating the Seattle City Council’s opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline, and requesting the Department of Finance and Administrative Services to investigate ways to establish contracting criteria to prioritize the City’s goals to avoid contracting with financial institutions that provide it with project-level loans or other financial services.
WHEREAS, in Resolution 31346, adopted December 12, 2011, The City of Seattle resolved that “Climate change is not an abstract problem for the future or one that will only affect far-distant places but rather climate change is happening now, we are causing it, and the longer we wait to act, the more we lose and the more difficult the problem will be to solve”; and
WHEREAS, in December 2015, representatives of 194 nations signed the Paris Agreement to prevent catastrophic and irreversible impacts on the world’s climate, with the aim of “[h]olding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”; and
WHEREAS, a September 2016 Oil Change International report, “The Sky’s Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production,” found that currently developed reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal “exceed the 2°C carbon budget and signiﬁcantly exceed the 1.5°C budget,” and that “[o]il and gas emissions alone exceed the 1.5°C budget”; and
WHEREAS, a January 2017 Oil Change International report, “Climate on the Line: Why New Tar Sands Pipelines Are Incompatible with the Paris Goals,” found that “to have a likely (2 in 3) chance of keeping warming below 2°C, global emissions must be halved within little more than 20 years. To keep warming to 1.5°C, emissions must be halved in about 15 years”; and
WHEREAS, the 2012 analysis produced by the Congressional Research Service, “Canadian Oil Sands: Life-Cycle Assessments of Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” found that “Well-to-Tank (i.e., production) emissions from Canadian oil sands crudes have a range of increase from 72%-111% over the average Well-to-Tank emissions of other imported crudes”; and
WHEREAS, on March 24, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the State Department issued TransCanada the federal permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which could transport over 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico; and
WHEREAS, over 100 First Nations and Tribes have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, which states that “our Nations hereby join together under the present treaty to officially prohibit and to agree to collectively challenge and resist the use of our respective territories and coasts in connection with the expansion of the production of the Alberta Tar Sands, including for the transport of such expanded production, whether by pipeline, rail or tanker”; and
WHEREAS, the prospective route for the Keystone XL pipeline would run through the Rosebud Sioux reservation in South Dakota and has been called an “act of war” by Rosebud Sioux president, Cyril Scott; and
WHEREAS, completion of the Keystone XL pipeline is dependent upon receiving credit facilities and project-level loans from financial institutions; and
WHEREAS, financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase, CitiBank, Wells Fargo, Bank of Montreal, Scotia Bank, ATB Financial, Bank of Tokyo, Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC, National Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank, Credit Agricole, Desjardins, Deutsche Bank, Mizuho and Sumimoto Mitsui Banking Corporation have provided financial services to TransCanada; and
WHEREAS, in Ordinance 125257, passed February 10, 2017, The City of Seattle established policies to prioritize City business with “partners who are committed to engaging in fair business practices”; and
WHEREAS, the grassroots movement to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline is a central issue for climate justice and indigenous organizers, and has initiated a generation of activists into the struggle to defend this planet that we all depend on to survive; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE THAT:
Section 1. The Seattle City Council opposes the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. We urge all federal and state regulatory agencies to reject permit requests from TransCanada for the construction of that project. We urge financial institutions to boycott providing financial services to TransCanada until it abandons attempts to complete the pipeline.
Section 2. The Seattle City Council does not support doing business with financial institutions that invest in the Keystone XL Pipeline or otherwise provide financial services to TransCanada for that project. We request the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) to investigate ways to establish contracting criteria to prioritize the City’s goals to avoid contracting for banking services to The City of Seattle with financial institutions that provide credit-level facilities or project-level loans to TransCanada. We request that FAS look for meaningful ways to communicate these positions of the Seattle City Council to prospective financial institutions, such as by incorporating appropriate language in Requests for Proposals for City contracts.