Keystone XL pipeline decision postponed again — need for pressure continues


2013-02-17 15.44.04The Obama administration has once again postponed a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, likely delaying a final decision until after the November 2014 elections. It seems clear that the anti-pipeline campaign initiated in the heartland and sparked as a national issue by our civil disobedience demonstrations at the White House in 2011 continues to have an impact. On Saturday, April 26, the Cowboy-Indian Alliance will spearhead another demonstration against the pipeline on the National Mall in Washington, DC — another chance to keep the pressure on.

The Washington Post reports (Keystone XL pipeline decision postponed by Obama administration):

The Obama administration has — again — postponed a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline by giving eight different agencies more time to submit their views on whether the pipeline from Canada’s oil sands to the Texas Gulf Coast would serve the national interest.

The 90-day period for interagency comments was supposed to end May 7, but the State Department extended that deadline, citing “uncertainty” created by a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling that could lead to changes in the pipeline route. …

That could take months. If the lower court ruling is upheld, TransCanada would need to obtain a permit from the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which could take up to seven months, according to Jane Kleeb, head of Bold Nebraska and a leading foe of the pipeline. TransCanada also might have to renegotiate rights of way with landowners who might be in a better bargaining position. Kleeb notes that TransCanada’s construction permit in South Dakota expires June 20. …

This delay will likely postpone a final decision on the pipeline permit until after the November 2014 elections (see Climate Progress, State Department To Delay Keystone XL Pipeline Decision Until After November).

Bill McKibben at

  1. In pipeline terms it’s a win. Every day we delay a decision is a day when 830,000 barrels of oil stays safely in the ground. Together we’ve kept them at bay for three years now, and will continue to until perhaps the beginning of next year it seems.
  2. In climate terms, it’s a disappointment. Since the State Department can’t delay floods and droughts and El Ninos, we actually need President Obama providing climate leadership. If he’d just follow the science and reject the stupid pipeline he’d finally send a much-needed signal to the rest of the planet that he’s getting serious.
  3. In movement terms, it’s a sweet reminder that when we stand up we win. Three years ago this pipeline was a done deal, and thanks to you it’s come steadily undone. We can’t match Exxon or the Koch Bros with money; we can and have matched them with passion, spirit, creativity, and sacrifice.

So the Keystone fight goes on — we hope many of you will be in DC next weekend for Reject and Protect, joining the Cowboy Indian Alliance to say “hell no” to the pipeline. The Alliance members coming to DC next week are some of the strongest leaders in this fight.

We support this and hope there will be an excellent turnout for it.

Cowboy-Indian Alliance “Reject and Protect” anti-Keystone XL demonstration on the National Mall next Saturday, April 26:

On April 26th, thousands of people will meet in Washington DC to stand with pipeline fighters from the front lines to send a final, unmistakable message to President Obama that it’s time to Reject Keystone XL and Protect our Land Water and Climate.

On April 26th at 11 AM, we will meet at the encampment on the National Mall, and march together to present a hand-painted tipi to President Obama. This tipi will represent our hope that he will reject the pipeline, and our promise that we will protect our land and water if he chooses to let the pipeline move forward.

What: Reject and Protect mass tipi ceremony

Where: Cowboy Indian Alliance encampment, National Mall between 9th and 12th Streets, Washington DC

When: Saturday, April 26th, 11 AM

DeSmogBlog reported this additional response from McKibben:

“It’s as if our leaders simply don’t understand that climate change is happening in real time–that it would require strong, fast action to do anything about it. While we’re at it, the State Department should also request that physics delay heat-trapping operations for a while, and that the El Nino scheduled for later this spring be pushed back to after the midterms. One point is clear: without a broad and brave movement, DC would have permitted this dumb pipeline in 2011. So on we go.”

We know from experience that Obama needs to feel pressure to take action on climate change. There is certainly plenty of pressure and plenty of money on the other side. And it seems clear that the anti-pipeline campaign initiated in the heartland and sparked as a national issue by our civil disobedience demonstrations at the White House in 2011 continues to have an impact in countering those forces.

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Open letter from nine Nobel Peace Prize laureates calling on President Obama and secretary of State Kerry to reject the Keystone CXL pipeline (published in Politico)

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dturnbull at DailyKos notes that, in a display of Congressional bipartisanship, some members from both parties responded with talking points aligned with their oil industry funders (Keystone XL announcement met with predictable oily response):

Senator Mary Landrieu, possibly Big Oil’s favorite Democrat, was quick out of the gate, vowing to take “decisive action” to circumvent the legal process and push approval of the pipeline as Chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee. Of course, this should come as no surprise given the $1.1 million in campaign contributions she has received from the oil industry.

Not to be outdone, the leaders of the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate both quickly put out statements as well…Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cited inflated oil industry jobs claims while Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner repeated the industry’s oft-refuted claim that the pipeline would help with the Ukraine crisis. Rep. Boehner’s Big Oil campaign receipts? Over $1 million. Sen. McConnell’s? Over $1.2 million from the oil industry alone.

In the Senate, statements from other usual suspects swimming in Big Oil cash joined Senators McConnell and Landrieu’s pro-Keystone XL statements:

* Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): $750,000 in Big Oil cash

* Senator John Thune (R-SD) : $650,000 in Big Oil cash

* Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND): Over $100,000 from Big Oil IN ONE ELECTION CYCLE. In North Dakota, no less.

* Senator John Hoeven (R-ND): $285,000 in oil money, also in sparsely populated North Dakota.


Jim Hansen arrest at White House tar sands pipeline protest: “We had a dream”

Comment to State Department on Keystone XL pipeline “National Interest Determination”

100+ scientists and economists call on Obama and Kerry to reject Keystone XL

More on why Keystone XL is not in the national or global interest

On Keystone XL, John Kerry, and the global interest

Keystone XL tar sands pipeline & the “National Interest”

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