Obama cancels Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted on January 18th, 2012 in Climage Change,Environment,Politics by Robert Miller

Alberta Canada tar sand region before and after mining

This afternoon (Wednesday, January 18th, 2012), the Obama Administration announced that they are denying the permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This news represents a great victory for the environment and our planetary future. In the last Congressional budget action, approval for a two month extension of payroll tax reductions and unemployment insurance was adopted, with a provision tacked onto the bill which forced the President to decide within 60 days whether he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline, presumably feeling confident that putting him in such a box during an election year would increase the likelihood that the project would move forward. The Keystone XL pipeline proposal was designed to carry tar sand oil from Alberta Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, where it was to be refined.  Since big oil supports construction of this pipeline and is used to getting their way through lobbying and campaign donations, it would not have been surprising to anyone if Obama had yielded and approved the 1700 mile pipeline for construction.  But massive demonstrations, largely orchestrated by Bill McKibben’s 350.org, encircling at one point the White House with demonstrators linking arms (attended by arrests),  the environmental opposition beat out the oil lobby and encouraged Obama to deny the permit, an act for which he will face stiff opposition in a re-election year. It is worth noting that our most prominent climate scientist, James Hansen, has termed the Albert Sands project “game over” meaning that with the excessive carbon introduced by burning the dirty tar sands, we will reach a point of no-return on future climate change and very likely see large increases in sea levels as the polar and Greenland ice melts. Although we won the battle, the war isn’t over and it won’t be over until the environment and greenhouse gas emissions are finally recognized as the serious threat they pose to our future climate safety. You can bet that by tomorrow if not sooner, Mitt Romney will jump on this as a major job killer and announce he will reverse the decision once he’s elected to the Presidency. But let’s pause for a few minutes to express our gratitude to Obama for showing the courage necessary to reject the pipeline. It’s a major victory for environmentalists who worked hard to prevent the pipeline from becoming a reality. You can thank him by signing a petition at the NRDC site.


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