Obama Can Still Say No to Keystone XL Pipeline
Senate leaders reached an agreement on December 16, 2011 to extend the payroll tax rate and unemployment benefits for a mere two months, attaching to this legislation a provision to require the President to quickly decide yea or nay on constructing the Keystone XL pipeline. A December 17th Senate vote is expected, with the House to follow next week.
On November 10, the Administration determined that the dangerous impacts of the pipeline warranted additional study. This additional study would make a final decision on whether or not to approve the pipeline possible in early 2013. Republicans in the House and Senate then led efforts to rapidly force the issue. The Senate provision requires the President to determine whether the KXL is in the national interest or not, within 60 days of the bill’s passage. President Obama has ample grounds for concluding the pipeline violates our national interest.
Currently, there is no approved route for the pipeline – so who knows what the Administration would be agreeing to if it agreed to pursue the pipeline? It’s clear that the previously proposed route through Nebraska Sand Hills poses tremendous risk to the environment and to drinking water. At present, there is simply no pipeline route to approve.
But more importantly to understand – there is no such thing as a safe route for the KXL at all. The pipeline poses great danger to human health, the environment, jobs, and our energy security. Much has been written about the health and environmental consequences of the pipeline. But, to our detriment, less attention is being paid to the economic and security implications of the pipeline.
Jobs estimates for the pipeline have been wildly exaggerated and bring false hope to people. More jobs – and enduring ones at that – could be created by building our domestic energy sector. And very few people are picking up on the data that shows how the KXL can be a jobs killer in the US, through pipeline spills and increased fuel costs in the Midwest.
Another false hope being perpetuated is that the KXL will enable us to use more “friendly Canadian” oil than Middle Eastoil. Rep. Connolly (D-VA) expressed concern about Congress’ refusal to require that KXL oil be used for US consumption rather than for export. So the American people are being asked to risk all the dangers of running the pipeline through our country…..so it can be sold abroad?
President Obama, the power is still yours to stop the pipeline and safeguard our national interests.