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President Obama’s Keystone XL Decision: Rep. Grijalva Gets to the Heart of It


President Obama talks a lot about standing up to the industrial carbon polluters disrupting our climate. So why does he act like the decision on Keystone XL tar sands pipeline – a carbon bomb & one he doesn’t have to beg Congress to defuse – is so hard? Why are he and Secretary of State John Kerry standing by in silence as his State Department hires oil contractors to write the environmental review?

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-NM) has a must-read op-ed on KXL in today’s New York Times:

The administration’s approach to the pipeline is a throwback to the time when endangered species were defenseless in the face of corporate moneymaking. It is a reminder that even though our environmental laws use science, not profits, as the basis of our environmental decisions, any company with bottomless pockets used to be able to game the system and get away with it.

That’s why Keystone is about more than one pipeline. It is about establishing once and for all whether we have moved on from the disastrous Bush-Cheney view of environmental policy. […]

Depending on the outcome, I worry that the American public won’t just lose faith in Keystone. It will lose faith in the government’s ability to fund, carry out, understand and implement scientifically based environmental policy. President Obama doesn’t want that to be his legacy. Neither do I. And I am hardly alone.

Will President Obama and Secretary Kerry do the right thing, or will they be yes men for Washington’s big money special interests? Ask them to say no to Keystone XL.

  • scott_r

    So, yeah, the Tar Sands are horrific – this is far in a way one of the most awful and destructive ways of extracting a very dirty energy source…and to help stop climate change we need to prevent those from being extracted and burned.

    But…the thing is: we don’t own Canada…and it’s not clear to me that the tar sands aren’t viable w/o the pipeline (using rail transport).  I’ve heard competing claims about this, but it seems to me that all we have to have is an economic recovery and push crude (Cushing) back up above 120 and suddenly this stuff is worth the transportation costs.

    As much as I don’t care to enrich Koch Industries or the refiners, if it’s going to be extracted anyway, I guess I’d rather see it in a pipeline which is ultimately cleaner and safer than rail. I’ve heard competing claims about the viability without the pipeline, but I’m strangely inclined to believe the state department study.