Joining Bernie and Trumping Obama, Clinton Comes Out Against Keystone XL
Joining political rival Bernie Sanders in his long-held opposition and distancing herself from the reluctance of the Obama administration to reject the project outright, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton came out publicly against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline for the first time on Tuesday.
“I think it is imperative,” Clinton said during a campaign stop in Iowa, “that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is—a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change.”
Citing her personal perspective, Clinton continued by saying the controversial project is “one that interferes with our ability to move forward with all the other issues. Therefore I oppose it.”
Climate action groups such 350.org, which has fought fiercely against approval of the project, welcomed the comments and claimed responsibility for making such positions possible — especially for the former secretary of state who was previously supportive of the pipeline’s construction and as one who played such a central role in the federal government’s consideration of the project.
“Make no mistake,” said 350’s executive director May Boeve, Clinton’s announcement “is clear proof that social movements move politics. Thanks to thousands of dedicated activists around the country who spent years putting their bodies on the line to protect our climate, we’ve taken a top-tier presidential candidate’s ‘inclination to approve’ Keystone XL, and turned it into yet another call for rejection. Her position on Keystone should set an important precedent for her policies going forward: we cannot afford to approve projects that make climate change worse.”
Jane Kleeb, head of Bold Nebraska, championed the decision as a win for farmers, local ranchers, and other landowners in her state and along the pipeline’s proposed route. “All front runners in the Democratic Party,” said Kleeb, “see the lies Big Oil tried to tell in order to shove this export pipeline down our throats. Now all that is left is for President Obama to reject the permit so landowners and Tribal Nations can get on to producing food with clean water.”
Even as Clinton has had to contend with widespread mistrust among environmentalists and climate campaigners over her troubling ties with the fossil fuel industry, including specific questions about her members of her team who have lobbied on behalf of the company behind Keystone, Boeve echoed the idea that Clinton’s public statements against the project serve to build pressure on the Obama administration to reject it once and for all.
“Today’s news is a huge win for our movement,” said Boeve. “As the President himself has noted, building Keystone XL would worsen climate change, unlock development of Canada’s tar sands oil, and threaten the safety of farmers and landowners in America’s heartland — all so an oil company can profit by sending oil to the rest of the world. That’s why this pipeline has drawn such intense opposition from every part of American society, ranging from landowners along the route to scientists, farmers, tribal communities and major politicians. President Obama has all the information he needs: it’s time to end this, and reject Keystone XL for good.”
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