Despite this blog being quick to point out the failings of Obama, it is also prepared to acknowledge and give credit where due. Today’s statement regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline is one such occasion. Bill McKibben and 350.org has produced a completely unexpected turnaround which has countered the lobby groups intent on seeing tar sands proliferate, to the extreme detriment of ALL those that call this Earth Home.
No doubt the fact that over 1,250 people were prepared to be arrested helped, including some very eminent people, which gives an indication of how hard the victories of the future will become. It should also be noted that this “review” merely postpones the ultimate decision until after the Presidential election. Nonetheless, we have to say thanks Obama, this is why you were elected.
Naomi Klein interrupted her discussion of Occupy Wall St to announce the decision.
President Obama released this statement:
I support the State Department’s announcement today regarding the need to seek additional information about the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood. The final decision should be guided by an open, transparent process that is informed by the best available science and the voices of the American people. At the same time, my administration will build on the unprecedented progress we’ve made towards strengthening our nation’s energy security, from responsibly expanding domestic oil and gas production to nearly doubling the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks, to continued progress in the development of a clean energy economy.
Extract from the State Department statement: “Keystone XL Pipeline Project Review Process: Decision to Seek Additional Information.” It states:
… given the concentration of concerns regarding the environmental sensitivities of the current proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, the Department has determined it needs to undertake an in-depth assessment of potential alternative routes in Nebraska….
Based on the Department’s experience with pipeline project reviews and the time typically required for environmental reviews of similar scope by other agencies, it is reasonable to expect that this process including a public comment period on a supplement to the final EIS consistent with NEPA could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2013. After obtaining the additional information, the Department would determine, in consultation with the eight other agencies identified in the Executive Order, whether the proposed pipeline was in the national interest, considering all of the relevant issues together. Among the relevant issues that would be considered are environmental concerns (including climate change), energy security, economic impacts, and foreign policy.