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March 7, 2014

The Honorable John Kerry
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC  20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

As members of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), we urge you to reject the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline: it is not in the best national interest.  The Obama administration has asked for business and economic input during the National Interest Determination phase of the project permitting process. Permitting the Keystone XL pipeline is a long-term investment in tar sands oil, one of the most carbon- and water-intensive fuels on the planet. The pipeline would increase carbon pollution and its attendant costs and undermine the U.S. commitment to a transition to clean, sustainable and low carbon energy.

E2 is a non-partisan, national community of business leaders who promote strong environmental policy to grow the economy. We are entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who collectively have been involved in financing, creating or working in the early development of more than 1,700 companies, which have created over 570,000 jobs. Our members manage over $175 billion in private equity capital that will flow over the next several years into new companies.In recent years, the economic impacts of climate change have become increasingly clear.[1] Climate change fueled by carbon pollution has contributed to more frequent and more intense weather events that impose rising economic costs.  There is little overall economic benefit to the United States from approval of the project – it would create just 35 new permanent jobs – yet the pipeline would play an important role in creating enormous future harms to our economy.

Producing tar sands oil releases huge amounts of carbon pollution, both from its energy-intensive extraction methods and refining processes and also from its destruction of boreal forests. On average these tar sands fuels produce 17 percent more carbon pollution than fuel produced from conventional crude. According to the State Department's most recent analysis there are scenarios where, if developed, the Keystone XL pipeline would directly contribute 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon pollution over 50 years.  Using the administration's most recent Social Cost of Carbon estimates, this means the pipeline alone would produce nearly $100 billion in costs to our economy over its projected lifespan. 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.

The President has rightly made cutting carbon pollution a national priority, with the carbon pollution reductions from updated fuel efficiency standards of cars (6 billion metric tons over life of vehicles[2]), appliance and building efficiency standards (3 billion metric tons by 2030[3]) and power plant carbon pollution standards (est. ~ 560 million metric tons by 2020[4]) being showcased as decisions made to benefit our national interest. Moreover, the U.S. has joined other nations at the Copenhagen summit, including Canada, in committing to significantly reducing carbon emissions. With its direct contribution to increased carbon pollution, Keystone XL is clearly not aligned with our national interest and undermines our international commitments. When understanding how approval of this pipeline would accelerate further tar sands development, and create even more carbon pollution, the case for disapproval grows even stronger.

Markets rely on both price and policy signals when making investment decisions.  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.  Approving the Keystone XL pipeline as being in the national interest would signal to investors that future tar sands projects could proceed with the blessing of the U.S. government, accelerating development of the roughly 170 billion barrels of high carbon tar sands reserves. Meanwhile, futures traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange believe that West Texas Intermediate crude will be nearly $20 a barrel less expensive by 2019. As the market price signal erodes, do we want U.S. policy to be the sole incentive for the ongoing development of this expensive and dirty fuel source?

The State Department's analysis fails to recognize that Keystone XL is the critical linchpin for future tar sands oil development.  No other economical alternatives now exist to transport new tar sands oil out of Canada.  Rail is significantly more expensive, as even the State Department has acknowledged, and other proposed pipelines like Northern Gateway are facing increased domestic opposition within Canada.  The tar sands industry itself has been clear that without the new pipeline it will have to slow expansion plans.[5]

The Obama Administration has expended great time and resources toward establishing America's leadership on global challenges including the development of clean, low-carbon energy. By approving Keystone XL, the country would instead be locking itself into the development of high cost, high carbon fuels for the foreseeable future. We urge you to reject projects that are so detrimental to America's global leadership in clean energy by finding that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in our national interest.


[1] In 2012, the U.S. suffered 11 weather events each costing more than $1 billion, with the cost of Superstorm Sandy alone expected to exceed $60 billion and the drought which afflicted half the country costing $11 billion (National Climatic Data Center). Indeed, a study from Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurer, found that over the last 30 years weather-related loss events in North America have quintupled.

[2] "Opening Statement of Regina McCarthy," Testimony, Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Committee on Energy and Commerce, 29 June 2012.

[3] Ibid

[4] "Strong Pollution Standards of Dirty Power Plants," Natural Resources Defense Council. 29 Jan 2013. http://www.nrdc.org/air/pollution-standards/files/NRDC-Carbon-Pollution-Standards-Presentation-2013-01-29.pdf

[5] "Oilsands development is now or never, industry executives say," The Toronto Star. 15 Jan 2014. http://www.thestar.com/business/economy/2014/01/15/now_or_never_for_oilsands_executives_say.html

Dan Abrams (California)
President/CEO, Wynkoop Properties
Mario Aieta (New York)
Partner, Satterlee, Stephens, Burke & Burke LLP
Steven Anderson (Virginia)
VP Logistics, SOSi International
Christopher Arndt (Colorado)
Private Investor & Author
Patty Arndt (Colorado)
Jay Baldwin (California)
Partner, Wind River Capital Partners, LLC
Dora Barlaz Hanft (New York)
Holly Beaver (Colorado)
Consultant, Educator & Technical Assistance
Elizabeth Bekiroglu (Washington)
Associate General Counsel, Seattle Genetics, Inc.
Laura Berland (California)
Greenlots - electric vehicle charging
Eric Berman (Washington)
President and Co-Chair, E8 Angels
Luann Berman (Washington)
Tony Bernhardt, PhD (California)
Northern California Director, Environmental Entrepreneurs
Aron Bernstein (Massachusetts)
Professor of Physics, MIT
Maureen Blanc (California)
Damian Blazy (District of Columbia)
Customer Success Manager, Pivotal
Barbara Blumenthal (New Jersey)
President, Blumenthal Consulting LLC
David Bowen (California)
Bill Boyk (Oregon)
CEO/Founder, GyroVolts by Ameristar Solar, LLC
Diane Boyk (Oregon)
James Boyle (Massachusetts)
CEO, Sustainability Roundtable Inc.
George Brandt (California)
Tim Brummels (California)
CEO/President, Prenexus Health, LLC
Reid Buckley (California)
Partner, Orion Renewable Energy Group
Barbara Brenner Buder (California)
Hamilton Candee (California)
Partner, Altshuler Berzon LLP
Bill Capp (Florida)
Founder, Grid Storage Consulting
Peter Carson (California)
Partner, Sheppard Mullin Hampton & Richter LLP
Priscilla Carson (California)
Bruce Catania (New York)
Portfolio Manager and COO, LyonRoss Capital Management LLC
Steve Chadima (California)
Senior Vice President, Communications & Director of California Initiatives, AEE Advanced Energy Economy
John Cheney (California)
CEO, Enera
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Managing Director, Conveyance Capital Partners
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Co-Founder & CEO, ZenPayroll
Stacie Cheng (California)
Director of Business Strategy and Operations, Dell
Roger Choplin (California)
Proprietor / Owner, Our Earth Music, Inc.
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President, Manzanita Management Corp
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President, Breckinridge Capital Advisors
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Venture Partner, TransLink Capital
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Executive Director, Philanthropy Associates
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Jane Cuddehe (New York)
Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Devonshire
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VP Business Development, MMA Renewable Ventures
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Retired Attorney
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Executive Chairman, Cimbal, Inc
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DeLapa Consulting
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Kaiser Permanente
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President, Decent Energy, Inc.
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Partner, Digital Healthcare Lead, Claremont Creek Ventures
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Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Assoc. Dir., Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Co-Founder, Sybase, New Resource Bank, Environmental Entrepreneurs
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Founder & President, Sunlight Electric, LLC
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Chair, Gap, Inc.
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President, Avalon Enterprises Inc
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Chief Financial Officer, Zoox
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CEO, Academix Direct, Inc
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Addwater Marketing, Addwater Marketing
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Hyman Hartman (Massachusetts)
Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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General Partner, Lakeside Enterprises
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Level Ten Energy
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Babel Networks Limited
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245 members


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