Quantcast

The Pipeline President: Obama’s Keystone XL

Energy

Tom Weis

Last spring, President Obama made a special trip on Air Force One to the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World” to call for fast-track approval of the southern (OK-TX) leg of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Note to President Obama: You approved it. You own it.

By now, most people following the Keystone XL saga know that last spring, President Obama made a special trip on Air Force One to the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World” to call for fast-track approval of the southern (OK-TX) leg of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Standing in a pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma, the President declared:

“And today, I'm directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”

Since then, TransCanada has constructed roughly one-third of the 485-mile southern leg (if not for fierce push back by a few determined landowners and the courageous efforts of Tar Sands Blockade, it would be more).

With ownership comes responsibility. As the pipeline president, Obama not only owns Keystone XL, he also owns the atrocities being committed in its name in Texas:

  • Great grandmothers being pepper-sprayed in the face and having their land fraudulently seized by a foreign corporation
  • Peaceful protesters being sadistically assaulted by local law enforcement, with the encouragement of TransCanada officials
  • I could go on … this is sick stuff.

All this is occurring despite the fact that countless landowners in six Great Plains states whose private property the pipeline would cross don’t want it. Native American tribes whose treaty lands the pipeline would desecrate don’t want it. Even the President’s own U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Lisa Jackson, reportedly resigned in large part because of it. So why does President Obama want it so badly?

  • It can’t be jobs. Obama’s Keystone XL risks destroying more jobs than it creates.
  • It can’t be energy independence. Obama’s Keystone XL is being built as an export pipeline for Canada to sell its dirty oil to foreign markets.
  • It can’t be cheaper gas. Obama’s Keystone XL portends higher, not lower, gas prices for the Midwest and Rockies.
  • It can’t be public health. Obama’s Keystone XL threatens to further poison the air of people living near tar sands oil refineries.
  • It can’t be economic security. Obama’s Keystone XL imperils U.S. aquifers and waterways and the local economies they support.
  • It can’t be national security. Twenty prominent scientists have warned of the climate impacts of Obama’s Keystone XL, with an elite Military Advisory Board declaring climate change a threat to our national security.

There’s still a way out of this mess, but the window of opportunity is rapidly closing on this presidency. The minute we see President Obama use the powers of his presidency to end this immoral assault on America is the day we’ll know he is ready to deal with a climate spiraling out of control on his watch.

This begins with:

  • Immediately halting construction of Keystone XL’s southern leg.
  • Rejecting outright TransCanada’s permit to build the northern leg.
  • Using the bully pulpit of the presidency to begin a long overdue adult national conversation about how we’re going to solve the gravest challenge of our time.

The hour is late, but it is not too late for President Obama to trade out his dead-end “all of the above” energy strategy for a life-affirming green industrial revolution. A principled leader would use the next four years to do what is hard: stand up and fight like hell for the future of life on Earth—earning the eternal gratitude of generations to come.

A compromised politician would do what is easy: cave into the fossil fuel lobby and sacrifice the future of our children and grandchildren on the rotting altar of corporate greed. If President Barack Obama continues down the dangerous path he is currently on, he will go down in history as the pipeline president who knew the horrors of the climate peril we face, but lacked the moral courage to act.

It’s choice time.

Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL and PIPELINES pages for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A tropical storm above Bangkok on Aug. 04, 2016. Hristo Rusev/ NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn't really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga — although its interconnected characters aren't necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.

Read More Show Less
orn_france / iStock / Getty Images

By Susan McCabe, BSc, RD

Dioscorea alata is a species of yam commonly referred to as purple yam, ube, violet yam, or water yam.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Left: MirageC / Moment / Getty Images Right: Pongsak Tawansaeng / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Sole water is water saturated with pink Himalayan salt.

Read More Show Less
People march to TCF Bank Stadium to protest against the mascot for the Washington Redskins before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 2, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Thursday banning public schools or universities in the state from using Native American mascots, names or imagery. Mills' action will make Maine the first state in the nation with such a ban once it goes into effect later this year, The Bangor Daily News reported.

Read More Show Less
A man protests against the use of disposable plastics outside the Houses of Parliament on March 28 in London. John Keeble / Getty Images

Plastic pollution across the globe is suffocating our planet and driving Earth toward catastrophic climatic conditions if not curbed significantly and immediately, according to a new report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CEIL).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill on April 2 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A new climate action plan put forth by Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday is being praised for highlighting the enormous benefits that would result from a rapid shift in the U.S. to a renewable energy economy that centers on the needs of workers and vulnerable communities.

Read More Show Less

Mitshu / E+ / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Veganism is a way of living that tries to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty.

Read More Show Less

6okean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A federal judge ruled this week that the Food and Drug Administration must begin implementing regulations for the many types of e-cigarettes now on the market in the U.S.

Read More Show Less