Keystone Pipeline Opponents Prep for Obama's Decision

Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 10:57 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Though President Obama has not issued a final decision on whether he will greenlight the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, environmentalists are gearing up to go on the attack if he does, according to The Hill.

"If Obama approves Keystone, it will provoke a 'vehement reaction' from environmental groups," David Goldston, director of governmental affairs at the National Resources Defense Council, told The Hill.

"People have speculated that a push in climate policies could be some kind of trade-off, but for the environmental community, there is no such trade-off on Keystone XL. I don't think that's a strategy that would work in terms of the environmental movement either substantively or politically."

The 1,179-mile Keystone Pipeline would carry heavy crude from tar sands in western Canada to Nebraska and then to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Supporters say the pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs and mitigate U.S. dependence on foreign oil, while opponents argue there will be a negative climate impact of allowing fossil fuels to be extracted and shipped through the pipeline, The Washington Post reported.

"The report says that the 830,000 barrels of oil moving through the pipeline each day, when burned, would release the same amount of carbon dioxide as up to 5.7 million cars would annually," according to The Post.

On Jan. 31, a long awaited government report found the Canada-U.S. oil pipeline would have minimal impact on the climate and would not substantially increase carbon emissions because Canadian oil sands will be developed regardless, according to Bloomberg.

With the issuance of the report, members of the oil industry, union groups, congressional Republicans, and even a spate of Democrats have been bolstered that Obama will finally approve the $7 billion project after a five-year wait, Fox News reports.

Following a 30-day comment period, the president has 90 days to make a decision. Environmentalists are closely monitoring the situation and are organizing a lawsuit challenge, public protests and strategizing how to make it a key issue in the fall elections, according to Fox.

"National activists say they have recruited more than 75,000 volunteers willing to participate in civil disobedience, should Obama approve the project," Fox reported.

Nebraska farmers opposing the pipeline are banding together to run for a state board that regulates power stations along the route, as well as driving very slowly along country roads to block pipeline trucks.

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