By Laura Barron-Lopez - 03/14/14 12:42 PM EDT
House Democrats are joining the growing campaign to pressure Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryWhat would a Hillary Clinton presidency look like? 5 reasons Trump's final debate performance sealed his 2016 coffin US pledges to do all it can to fight 'grave threat' of nuclear North Korea MORE to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
A letter sent to Kerry on Friday, signed by 27 House Democrats, details what they said would be the climate impacts of approving the $5.4 billion project, which would run from oil sands in Alberta to Gulf refineries.
"If the United States is truly committed to avoiding a 2 degree temperature increase, we have to start by resisting this pipeline. We urge you to reject the pipeline and keep tar sands oil in the ground where it belongs.”
The representatives were joined by the National Wildlife Federation and activist group 350.org on Friday.
Kerry this week said he's a blank slate when it comes to Keystone despite his advocacy for taking action to reduce climate change.
"I am not at liberty to go into my thinking at this point — it is just not appropriate — except to say I am approaching this tabula rasa," Kerry said Thursday in testimony before the Senate.
Opponents of the project have tried to portray Kerry as an ally, noting his strong rhetoric on climate change.
In recent weeks, green groups have made multiple personal pleas to Kerry. Last week, young activists met with State Department officials and sent a letter to the secretary.
The anti-Keystone XL push ramped up this week with Sen. Barbara Boxer holding a press conference on Thursday.
Nurses from across the U.S. joined Boxer in calling on the State Department to assess the health impacts of Keystone XL.
"I am pleased to tell you that the 185,000 registered nurses of National Nurses United are calling on the State Department to address the failure to fully consider the health impacts of the pipeline," Boxer said on Thursday.
"The permitting decision will be based on whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest. I believe, along with many others, that exposing more Americans to pollutants linked to cancer and respiratory illnesses is not in the national interest."
The environmental impact review released by the State Department earlier this year found that the pipeline would not significantly contribute to carbon emissions.
Advocates of the pipeline have criticized the recent pushback by opponents, calling it a last-ditch effort to delay the project further.