Please Care About the Caribou

via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. State Department’s third review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline fails to address the pipeline’s serious threat to wildlife, including the highly endangered woodland caribou. As the 45 day period for public comment progresses we need to fight to protect the caribou, and the many other species at risk, from this potentially disastrous project.

Act Now!

Why It Matters

In March, the U.S. State Department issued a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement on TransCanada’s proposed controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Unfortunately, this review failed to include the project’s serious effects on wildlife, habitat, and climate change. The proposed pipeline would cut through America’s heartland and put wildlife at risk from toxic oil spills, polluted water, and other related threats. Furthermore, the pipeline would drive the expansion of tar sands oil in Canada, which would destroy more and more of the woodland caribou’s already reduced forest habitat.

The woodland caribou is one of the most critically endangered mammals in the United States with only a handful found south of the Canadian border. Woodland caribou are migratory and despite periodic sightings the caribou range has receded greatly each decade.

These animals are facing dangers on all sides. They have long been victims of poaching and logging. In addition, the construction of roads has not only damaged caribou habitat, but also brought the danger of motorized vehicles. Climate change is now causing a large decrease in lichen, the caribou’s central food supply. If built, the pipeline will pose of all the above threats and it may be what pushes the species into extinction.

Woodland Caribou 2According to Jim Lyon, vice president for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation, the analysis released by the Obama Administration “fails in its review of climate impacts, threats to endangered wildlife like whooping cranes and woodland caribou, and the concerns of tribal communities.” Lyon believes that “President Obama should put his commitment to confront climate change above Canada’s desire to cash in on polluting tar sands.”

The National Wildlife Federation wants to ensure all impacts are included in the final review before TransCanada is given permission to build the Keystone XL pipeline. We need to encourage government to consider all of the lives currently at stake before this catastrophic project forces the woodland caribou into extinction.

There is still time to speak up for caribou. During the 45 day public comment period that commenced on March 8, you can make your voice heard.

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