Tech leaders urge State to reject Keystone XL

Technology industry executives wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry encouraging him to block the Keystone XL pipeline from being built, saying the costs to society would exceed the benefits.

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The pipeline would cost the economy more than $100 million over its lifetime, and “these costs will be borne by U.S. citizens, businesses and taxpayers, while the profits from the pipeline will accrue to private corporations, many of which are foreign interests,” said Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a group of more than 200 Silicon Valley business owners, venture capitalists and others. The cost total is based on the costs of carbon dioxide emissions as estimated by the federal government.

The letter, sent March 7 but made public Monday, disagrees with a State Department report saying the Alberta oil sands that the Keystone pipeline will serve would be developed whether it is built. Keystone XL would lower the transportation costs for the oil, which is essential to its commercialization, E2 said.

“Markets rely on both price and policy signals when making investment decisions,” the group said. “While increasing prices for crude oil have driven interest in further development of tar sands, this development is not inevitable without continued high prices and policy support.”

The letter’s signers include leaders in Apple Inc., Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Oracle Corp.

E2 released the letter the same day as a United Nations report that urged immediate action by world leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change.