National Journal: Environmental Radicals trying to force Obama’s hand on Keystone

Interesting article today from the National Journal on the Keystone pipeline. To summarize, Obama may not be that radical on it, but the environmental radicals are pushing him hard, to force him to squander the opportunity:

pipelineTo environmentalists throughout the country, denying the Keystone XL oil pipeline would be the most important sign that President Obama is committed to combating global warming.

To people close to Obama, the pipeline is not nearly that important, and they think the debate surrounding it is overblown, if not misplaced. In interviews with National Journal Daily, people who have advised Obama over the years, including former White House aides, downplayed the effect the pipeline would have on climate change or much of anything really, besides politics.

“It’s important we focus on things that make the biggest difference in terms of global climate change and do the most to actually reduce carbon emissions, like economy-wide carbon policy or use of the Clean Air Act,” said Jason Bordoff, who left the White House this January after advising Obama on energy and climate issues in senior policy positions since April 2009. “I don’t know how much building or not building one pipeline is going to affect either how much oil is produced in Canada or in global greenhouse-gas emissions.” Bordoff now heads up Columbia University’s new Center on Global Energy Policy.

A relatively small but loud contingent of environmental groups, led by and the Sierra Club, has harnessed the 1,700-mile, Alberta-to-Texas pipeline as their rallying cry to fight global warming. The type of oil the pipeline would move—extracted from formations called oil sands—has a heavier carbon footprint than most oil drilled in other parts of the world. This issue is so important to the Sierra Club that the group, one of the oldest and largest environmental organizations in the world, announced earlier this year it was for the first time in its 120-year history lifting its policy against civil disobedience to hold a massive protest against the pipeline in Washington, in partnership with


Aldy and Bordoff are now saying publicly what many Democratic energy and climate advisers have said more privately over the past couple of years: The Keystone XL pipeline is not that big of a deal.

“We are essentially jamming our national energy policy debate through a 30-inch pipe. It’s an unfortunately narrow space, and the tone and quality of the discussion reflects the constraint,” said Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, who has advised Obama on energy and climate issues and is close with the administration. “In the absence of a more meaningful energy-policy discussion, Keystone has become a symbolic referendum for a much larger set of issues.”

Read it all here.

According to this article, to the environmental lobby, opposing Keystone is little more than a power play to attempt to force the President’s hand.

They don’t care at all for our future energy needs, or our national energy security. It’s all about the politics.

1 comment

  1. Game over, despite the fact that producing tar sands oil, the kind to be carried by Keystone XL, is one of the dirtiest energy processes of all , harming local communities and contributing heavily to global warming, at a time when scientific evidence shows that global warming is ever more intense . Game over, despite the fact that recent pipeline leaks of the kind of oil to be carried across our country by Keystone XL have proven extremely harmful and difficult to clean up .

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