Obama admin moves towards approval of tar sands pipeline

This isn’t a surprise. It’s just incredibly disconcerting:

The State Department on Friday released its final environmental assessment of the Keystone XL, removing a major barrier to the construction of the 1,700 mile oil pipeline, which would stretch from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast.

In a report consistent with the agency’s earlier findings, the final Environmental Impact Statement found the proposed pipeline would have “no significant impact” to the vast majority of resources along the pipeline corridor, and suggested moving forward on the project with limited modifications.

Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, emphasized that no final decisions have been made

“This is not the rubber stamp for this project,” Jones told reporters in a conference call on Friday. “The permit for this project has not been approved or rejected at all … we will continue to have more discussion.”

Right. This disaster is heading towards Presidential approval. Big oil always wins in Washington.

This pipeline is becoming the defining environmental issue for Obama. It’s raising the political stakes for the President with one key part of his base. Via Bloomberg:

The outcome on the pipeline will be an issue in President Barack Obama’s campaign for re-election, said Michael Brune, executive director of the San Francisco-based Sierra Club.

“The decision-making authority is solely the president’s,” Brune said today on a conference call with other groups. “It will be increasingly difficult to mobilize the environmental base and to mobilize in particular young people to volunteer, to knock on thousands of doors, to put in 16-hour days, to donate money when they don’t think the president is showing the courage to stand up to big polluters.”

I suspect a lot of those activists will spend the next 15 months fighting this pipeline instead of canvassing for Obama. But, they’re being forced to do that because of Obama. I’m sure Jim Messina and the other campaign operatives will understand. Maybe, they should call the oil industry’s lobbyists. I’m sure they’re going to jump right on Obama’s campaign bandwagon.

Bill McKibben was on The Last Word on Thursday to discuss the political implications.


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On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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