In late January of 2014, the State Department releases a new final Environmental Impact Statement paving the way for Keystone XL to be approved with the finding that Keystone XL would not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The State Department’s conclusion that Keystone XL would not significantly add to climate change rests on the cynical assumption that all of the tar sands will inevitably be burned no matter what, so any rejection of a single pipeline would be irrelevant. The conclusions drawn by the State Department provoke swift condemnation by environmental critics, who condemn the race-to-the-bottom logic and raise the fact that scientists have warned us almost all the tar sands need to be left underground to keep global warming below dangerous levels.
Within 48 hours of the release of the new environmental impact statement, a coalition of groups including Rainforest Action Network, CREDO, 350.org, and the Sierra Club mobilize thousands of grassroots activists for emergency nationwide vigils to stop the pipeline. #NoKXL vigils are held in more than 270 cities and towns across the country.