UPDATE 3/13/2013: How Will the Obama Administration Rule on Keystone XL Pipeline? Can We Read the Tea Leaves?

Keystone XL demonstration, White House,8-23-20...

Keystone XL demonstration, White House,8-23-2011 Photo Credit: Josh Lopez (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly 40,000 protesters turned out (I’m sure Fox will say only “hundreds”) on a cold Washington, D.C. this past Sunday. These brave, courageous souls, spurred on by such activist organizations as 350.org, brought voice to an issue that went completely unspoken during the 2012 presidential campaign — namely, climate change. It’s not a matter of if or when any longer. It’s happening NOW and will only get worse if we don’t act NOW to curtail it.

But the first line in the sand for these protestors is the Keystone XL Pipeline. If this boondoggle is approved by the Obama Administration, it means the dirtiest oil known to man will be shoved down the throats of Americans — and that any low-level efforts to stave off climate change is doomed.

But how will Obama rule? Being the pragmatic politician he is (oh, that he were even something close to a “socialist”), he refused to address one segment of Keystone until after the election. But what now?

First, Obama finally sounded the climate change warning at both his inaugural speech and the SOTU speech. So if he’s not just delivering lip service to the world (and his kids’ own future), he should oppose Keystone on principle. (Seriously, nobody but the Canadian corporation TransCanada, or the Chinese, the targeted market, will get much out of this deal. Seriously.)

Second, thankfully, the Keystone’s true fate lies in the hands of Obama’s State Department since it crosses international boundaries. And, doubly thankfully, Obama’s new secretary of State, 2004 presidential election loser John Kerry, is a climate hawk. So, given his druthers, I’m sure he’d oppose Keystone too.

In Kerry’s first speech as secretary of state, on February 20, he said this:

We as a nation must have the foresight and courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and grandchildren: an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts, and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate.

And let’s face it – we are all in this one together. No nation can stand alone. We share nothing so completely as our planet.

When we work with others – large and small – to develop and deploy the clean technologies that will power a new world, we’re also helping create new markets and new opportunities for America’s second-to-none innovators and entrepreneurs to succeed in the next great revolution.

So let’s commit ourselves to doing the smart thing and the right thing and truly commit to tackling this challenge.

Because if we don’t rise to meet it, rising temperatures and rising sea levels will surely lead to rising costs down the road. If we waste this opportunity, it may be the only thing our generations are remembered for. We need to find the courage to leave a far different legacy.

Does this powerful rhetoric sound like he’d approve Keystone? Let’s hope not.

Third, is the presumed stance of the newly nominated EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, who has been a big crusader for the Clean Air Act. (McCarthy also led the EPA delegation to Indonesia on its palm oil industry-lobbied fact-finding trip. The palm oil mafia is lobbying the U.S. to approve the dirty, dangerous, orangutan-killing oil for use in the country’s renewable fuels calculations; still awaiting a further response on that after the EPA under Lisa Jackson killed it once already in January 2012.)

So where does that leave us? Hopefully, the death knell for Keystone. But we’ll see. As mentioned, Obama is nothing if not a pragmatic politician. (After all, while this climate change protest was going on, he was playing golf with Tiger Woods and two OIL MEN for god’s sake!). But there’s no need for him to play nice anymore with no election on the horizon (and history is against a sitting president in sixth year mid-term elections anyway). He must be the environmentalist he claimed to be in 2008 — and that we greenies thought were voted for then. (Hey I voted for the Green Party’s Jill Stein in 2012).

Show some balls, Obama.

Nice Think Progress report here:


UPDATED 3/1/2013:  Well, despite the above reasons against it, the State Department’s new environmental report, issued today (on a Friday, no less — a typical wussy Washington move when faced with controversy) would seem to support the possibility that it will approve Keystone XL by the summer (unless Kerry and Obama stay true to their alleged climate change bona fides).  The reason?  Development of Canada’s tar sands is a given regardless of what the U.S. does, and alternatives to get the bitumen, etc., to refineries would allegedly result in higher global warming gases than the pipeline….?  But they don’t seem to address the issue of keeping this pipeline, and all its potential environmental damage to soil, water supplies, wildlife, Native American land, etc., out of the U.S. and confine these problems to Canada.

It seems as if TransCanada’s corporate lobbying is paying off.  This planet is doomed.

A blurb from a Yahoo story:

The State Department on Friday raised no major objections to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.

But the latest environmental review stops short of recommending whether the project should be approved. State Department approval of the 1,700-mile pipeline is needed because it crosses a U.S. border.

Here’s a link to the story.


UPDATE 3/13/2103:  Well, there are conflicting reports that Obama left a lunch meeting with Congressional Republicans where he fielded a question on Keystone.  Although some knobs seemed to think he’d APPROVE it, this was tweeted later:

.@arthurdelaneyhp says Freshmen GOP Rep at lunch meeting said Obama fielded Keystone pipeline Q but never said he’d approve

— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) March 13, 2013

Here’s the story:


At this point, I’m leaning toward thinking Obama — a centrist, corporate lackey no different than the rest of them — will approve, despite the facts the State Department’s report was all but drafted by TransCanada, and Kerry will probably endorse its rejection.  For once I hope I’m wrong.

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