Pressure builds on Obama over proposed oil pipeline
WASHINGTON — President Obama's decision on whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline looms huge now that the election is over, and it could define Obama on energy and climate change.
The oil industry, which is pushing hard for approval, describes the choice as the president's “first test to the American people.”
Environmental groups are promising that thousands of activists will demonstrate against the pipeline on Sunday outside the White House, just the beginning of the efforts planned to sink the project.
Energy analyst Charles Ebinger said he thought two weeks ago that there was little chance Obama would kill the pipeline. He's increasingly less sure about that.
“It appears major environmental organizations and strong environmental supporters of the president are suggesting this is a litmus test for whether the second Obama administration is with them or against them,” said Ebinger, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution research center in Washington.
In January, Obama denied a permit for the northern section of the pipeline, saying the route through Nebraska needed more environmental review. That put off his final decision on the 1,700-mile pipeline, which would bring oil from the Alberta oil sands in Canada to American refineries on the Gulf Coast, until after the election.
Environmentalists were thrilled. The Congressional Research Service concluded this year that crude oil from the sands produces 14 to 20 percent more planet-warming gases than the average oil in U.S. refineries does.
The service found, based on a review of available studies, that approval of the pipeline could be the equivalent of putting up to 4 million more cars on the road.
The figures are disputed, but a more conservative assessment by the energy research group IHS CERA found that the oil sands produced 9 percent more greenhouse gases than average.
“This decision has huge implications in terms of what direction we go in as a nation in the near term in addressing climate,” said Jim Murphy, senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation. “By saying yes to this pipeline, you're basically saying yes to the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuel out there.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Marines killed in helicopter training exercise in Southern California
- Boy, 13, arrested in fatal stabbing at David Wark Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles
- Gunfire kills 3 at party in vacant house in Omaha
- Wind knocks out power in Los Angeles
- High-value detainees allowed family calls
- Snowstorm crawls up coast, hitting New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, parts of Pennsylvania
- Educator in California pleads guilty to sexual abuse of children
- Marine Corps’ general outlines priorities, vision
- Pluto ready for NASA close-up
- New York father kils 3 generations of family, himself
- Police search finds no bombs on planes at Atlanta airport