Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bill McKibben Finally Gets it: Obama Is in Favor of the Keystone XL Pipeline

For months environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben has been claiming that the pressure from grassroots climate activists whom he organized was responsible for President Obama first delaying a decision on the pipeline that would bring tar sands oil from Canada to the U.S. and then for turning down the pipeline. However, Obama never mentioned climate change as playing a role in his decisions and he never said that he was actually against the pipeline being built. He said he delayed his decision because the route through Nebraska needed to be changed and then he turned down the project because the State Department didn’t have enough time to review the revised route. A revised version of the pipeline proposal now has a southern section from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas which would be built first and Obama is going to Cushing to give a speech on his energy policy. The choice of this site for the speech has finally made it clear to McKibben that Obama really is in favor of the pipeline being built. At Huffingtonpost McKibben says:

“He [Obama] responded to the largest outpouring of environmental enthusiasm so far this millennium and denied a permit for the main Keystone XL pipe from Canada's tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico. Cynics said he did so just to avoid disappointing young people before the election, and pointed out that he invited pipeline proponent Transcanada to reapply for the permit. It's hard not to wonder if those cynics might be right, now that he's going to Oklahoma to laud the southern half of the project just as Transcanada executives have requested. True, the most critical part of the pipeline still can't be built…the connection to Canada remains blocked…But the sense grows that Obama may be setting us up for a bitter disappointment -- that his real allegiance is to the carbon barons.”

Perhaps McKibben’s realization that his climate change activism may have had no effect on Obama will convince him that the only way forward is via a third party. If he can somehow channel the energy of grassroots activists toward electing a president from a third party maybe we will finally start to get somewhere.

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