Entries in Keystone XL (4)


Sierra Club President Arrested During Keystone XL Protest

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Sierra Club President Allison Chin was arrested Wednesday outside the White House while leading members of her organization in protest for the first time in the group’s history.

Chin wrote on her blog Wednesday that protesters hoped to pressure President Obama to back up the lip-service he gave to take action on climate change Tuesday night in his State of the Union address and oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, which Chin claimed, “would enable extraction of some of the dirtiest oil on the planet.”

The move to protest was a historic one for members of the environmental advocacy group.

“This call for climate action is important enough that, for the first time in our 120-year history, we have suspended the Sierra Club’s long-standing policy that prohibits civil disobedience,” Chin wrote. “Today is a one-time event to face arrest in order to elevate discussion about a critical issue.”

Members of the Sierra Club and other anti-Keystone activists handcuffed themselves to the fence outside the White House and held a banner that read “Lead on Climate Change Reject KXL Pipeline” under a logo similar to President Obama’s. They cheered the names of each protester and thanked them as they were led away from the group by police.

Many environmental groups oppose the pipeline  that would bring crude oil from Canada to Texas, saying the product it conducts will contribute to pollution and climate change. But conservatives argue it will bring much-needed jobs to America and safely transport oil for fuel.

During his State of the Union address last night, President Obama called for Americans to combat climate change, "for the sake of our children and our future."

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” the president said. “I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

But Obama’s message on methods like the pipeline was mixed. On the one hand, he vowed to support clean energy initiatives. Yet he also promised to, "keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits," which would imply the deregulation of energy production.

Also arrested as part of the protest Wednesday were actress Daryl Hannah, Bobby Kennedy, Jr. and his son, Connor, famous for his short-lived relationship with pop princess Taylor Swift.

Hannah, famous for her roles in Splash, Blade Runner, and the Kill Bill movies, has been arrested on several occasions for protesting the pipeline -- most recently just a month before the 2012 presidential election.

President Obama's opponents claim his opposition to the pipeline -- which would transport oil from Canada into Texas -- not only costs the country hundreds of thousands of potential jobs, but makes the U.S. more dependent on oil from the unstable Middle East.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


President Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration on Wednesday formally rejected a bid by Canadian energy company TransCanada to build a $7 billion oil pipeline linking the tar sands of Alberta to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Keystone XL project, which was estimated to create thousands of U.S. jobs, became an election-year lightning rod, embroiling President Obama, congressional Republicans, labor unions and interest groups in a heated debate over jobs and the environment.

The State Department, which holds the authority to approve or reject pipelines that cross an international boundary, said in November that it would delay a decision on Keystone to allow for further study of the environmental impact along its 1,700-mile route.

Then in December, Congress tried to force the president to make a decision proposal within two months, tucking the mandate into the payroll tax cut bill that Obama ultimately signed into law.

But the president said Wednesday in a statement that the congressionally imposed deadline did not provide adequate time for the State Department to finish a customary review of the pipeline's route through six states.

Sources say the administration's decision effectively hits the reset button on a review process that has been underway for several years, but does not preclude TransCanada from resubmitting a proposal for reconsideration.

Labor unions, oil industry groups -- even the president's jobs council -- have signaled support for the plan, which also has bipartisan backing on Capitol Hill. But environmental groups warned it would have a dangerous effect on ecosystems and human health, ratcheting up pressure on Obama to defer to his progressive base in an election year.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who has said pipeline construction would "create 100,000 new jobs," warned that delaying the deal would mean losing jobs to China.

Meanwhile, environmental groups claimed victory over the oil industry, which had spent millions lobbying intensely for approval of the pipeline.

Administration officials have denied that politics played a role in the decision, citing established precedent for careful review of the environmental impact of major projects.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


White House Holds Off on Canada-US Pipeline Decision

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Sensing a huge backlash from environmental groups with the election year right around the corner, the White House made a decision Thursday that postpones the possible building of a 1,700-mile oil pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico until 2013.

The administration wants plans drawn up that would provide alternative routes of TransCanada Corp.'s $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline through sections of Nebraska.

"The U.S. administration is feeling the heat and wants to put off a decision until after the election," said John Bennett of the Sierra Club Canada.  "It's the first time the environment has trumped oil in U.S. politics."

There were also reports that some environmental groups were talking about cutting off donations to President Obama's reelection campaign if he approved the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Canadian government, U.S. Republicans and labor unions oppose the delay because shippers and refiners who are currently on board with the pipeline might now abandon it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pipeline Protesters Encircle White House

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images (WASHINGTON) -- Chanting “Yes we can … stop the pipeline,” thousands of people wearing bright orange vests encircled the White House on Sunday to protest the proposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada, across the United States, to the Gulf of Mexico.  The Natural Resources Defense Council organized the protest.

“I’m opposing the XL pipeline … because the tar sands oil extraction is a very dirty process,” said John Mayux, from Luray, Va.  ”And the few thousand jobs that it would create, I don’t think would balance out the damage from the possible breaks in the pipeline.”

Protesters are upset by what they consider a change in position for President Obama.  Signs given to protesters quoted from one of his 2008 campaign speeches: “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Last week, Obama said in an interview with Nebraska’s KETV that despite potential damage to the environment, he would consider allowing construction of the pipeline, in part, to create jobs.

Matthew Patterson, who brought his wife and three children from Vermont, worked on the Obama campaign in 2008, but said his support is waning and hinges on this decision.

“Sometimes I feel that we’re in his back pocket, and from his perspective, that we’ll vote for him anyway,” Patterson said.  ”But I think he might be surprised.  He’s got some promises to fulfill to those of us who worked very hard on the campaign in ’08.  So that’s why we’re here.  Hopefully he’ll make the right decision for our future.”

The crowd represented a full spectrum of age groups -- children brought by their parents, college students, adults and senior citizens.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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