RPT-Pipeline foes say Obama's climate plan no tradeoff for Keystone

Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:22pm EDT

WASHINGTON, June 20 (Reuters) - Foes of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas, said on Thursday that an expected White House package of proposals to combat climate change was not an adequate trade-off for approval of the controversial project.

Tom Steyer, a billionaire former hedge fund investor and environmental activist, said news that President Barack Obama would unveil a climate change strategy in the coming weeks, including curbs on power plant emissions, would be meaningless if the pipeline goes ahead.

"The idea of a trade here is very confusing and not logical," Steyer told reporters at the roll-out of a new social media campaign to engage Obama's grassroots supporters to ratchet up pressure to reject the pipeline.

Steyer's campaign is ramping up weeks after supporters of the pipeline launched their own media blitz urging the White House to approve the TransCanada Corp project.

Heather Zichal, Obama's energy and climate policy adviser, said on Wednesday that the president would use the federal Clean Air Act to clean up the country's power plants, which account for nearly 40 percent of domestic emissions.

The pipeline would link Alberta's oil sands production with refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The pipeline would transport about 830,000 barrels per day and cost some $5.3 billion to construct.

Obama is unlikely to make a final decision on the project before late this year or early 2014, and will rely on the recommendation of the State Department.

A State Department official said Thursday the agency is undergoing a rigorous process to evaluate the pipeline proposal.

"Time is required to do the job right, regardless of political pressure from either side," the official said, adding that the State Department is still trying to incorporate the input of over 1.2 million public comments on the project.

Environmental and civil rights activist Van Jones, who served as Obama's special adviser for green jobs in 2009, said crafting a tradeoff between a new climate policy and approval of Keystone would be a political "miscalculation" that would alienate Obama's supporters.

"It risks destroying the base," Jones said.

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Comments (2)
Orbesque wrote:
The Canadian Oil Sands Project is three decades late. Global awareness of the consequences of greenhouse gases is increasing as seen with the acknowledgement of the World Bank. Decisions made uncaring, irresponsible and selfish nations will have irreparable effects on those small nations who have little or no influence on the USA or Canada. The Keystone XL
Pipeline is conduit for greater consumption of oil products that result in higher global pollution levels. Rejecting this pipeline for all its misrepresented benefits and its consequences is imperative above all other environmental measures. If the first KXL is approved….there will be four more KXLs right behind it. Rejecting the KXL is our FIRST and LAST CHANCE to make a difference.

Jun 20, 2013 7:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
R42Eklund wrote:
Why don’t you spend you energy coming up with an alternative to oil? Until there is a viable alternative America will consume oil. If oil is going to be consummed, it only makes since to support the cheapest source. You sound like Al Gore talking about global warming as he steps on to his Gulf Stream. Try to solve the problem not block progress. Saying “that’s bad” doesn’t fix it. Put your energies toward an alternive to what you believe is wrong. If America went back to the horse and buggy you’d complain about horse flatulance. Solve the problem, don’t just complain about it.

Jun 20, 2013 9:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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