This past Sunday, I had the tremendous pleasure of attending an amazing rally at the White House. Organized by environmental activist Bill McKibben (founder of 350.org), the goal was to “surround the White House” with a human chain, demanding that President Obama kill the proposed Keystone XL dirty tar sands oil pipeline from Canada to the United States. In the end, 12,000 people did just that, as you can see from the video footage I shot.
Well, guess what? It appears to have worked! Check it out.
Um, we won. You won.
Not completely. The president didn’t outright reject the pipeline permit. My particular fantasy-that he would invite the 1253 people arrested on his doorstep in August inside the gates for a victory picnic by the vegetable garden-didn’t materialize.
But a few minutes ago the president sent the pipeline back to the State Department for a thorough re-review, which most analysts are saying will effectively kill the project. The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess. There’s no way, with an honest review, that a pipeline that helps speed the tapping of the world’s second-largest pool of carbon can pass environmental muster.
Now, let’s hope that kills this environmentally disastrous project once and for all. Oh, and if anyone tries to tell you that this pipeline would have created jobs, lowered gasoline prices, whatever, point them to the Cornell University study, the only study of the Keystone Pipeline’s economics not funded by the oil industry, which clearly finds that this project “may actually destroy more jobs than it generates,” while “pipeline spills, pollution and increased greenhouse gas emissions incur significant human health and economic costs, thus eliminating jobs.” Oh, and if that’s not bad enough, the Cornell study also projected “consumers in the Midwest paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel” if Keystone had been built.
In sum, this is a win environmentally, economically…and also politically for President Obama. Good call!