Posts Tagged ‘Keystone XL’
North American wildlife rarely outshines the wolf. Wolves are just, simply, awesome. I don’t know how else to put it. They’ve been on the recovery in the US, removed from protection here and there, are even being hunted in some states. All signs of a successful recovery.
TRC doesn’t have a strong opinion of these hunts (we lean towards: Probably not, but if so they should be highly managed by DNR. And no more prosecution of farmer’s protecting cattle), but we absolutely love wolves, and thus do not like to see stories like this:
Tar-sands development pushes Canada to poison wolves. Yes. It appears that the tar-sands development is causing a decrease in the caribou population. No surprise, since the habitat loss from this project is simply mind-boggling. If fewer caribou are around to prey on, then apparently the solution is to have fewer wolves. How? Poisoning, obviously.
It would seem to TRC that restoring the caribou population, to provide prey for a species makes more sense than killing wolves because we have killed too many caribou. But what do we know. We are not the NWF:
Rather than killing wolves, he should be stopping the habitat destruction and restoring habitat associated with tar sands production. Without healthy habitat, the decline of caribou is inevitable, no matter how wolves are managed.
Just one more self-evident display of why the development of the Canadian tar-sands needs to end.
In a piece at Politico on the lobby reports for Keystone XL, there is mention of a Quaker lobbying group and their involvement in Keystone efforts.
That caught my eye. So I checked out the Friends statement on the Keystone XL, and must say, I was warmed to think that TRC’s position is the same as that of the Quakers. Isn’t it always better to be on the side of the Quakers?
The over-arching concern with the Keystone project is that it represents an immense investment in dangerously dirty technology and backward thinking. Not only would the pipeline promote greater production of and access to fossil fuels, but it would take us further in the wrong direction in a time when our energy economy and the infrastructure that supports it should be undergoing fundamental change.
If you want to support the dirty, dangerous pipeline, you’re going to have to argue with the Society of Friends. And why would you want to argue with a group whose message is peace, equality, justice and simplicity?
TRC tends to think that when most people are confronted with a difficult decision, they will weigh the options and choose what they think is the best. If they don’t, that’s what they should be doing.
And I think that’s what President Obama and his team did when they decided to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline today. I like to think that Obama and his staff looked at the benefits and the risks, weighed them, and came to a decision based on the evidence. That isn’t to say that someone could not do the same, and come out on the other side. But it is to say that Obama took the decision seriously, and chose with care. This is what I hope.
The pros of the Keystone XL pipeline, the only talking point there is for this project, is jobs. It creates jobs. It’s shovel ready. If you oppose the line, you are an extremist who does not put American jobs first. Look at the GOP responses already compiled, only hours after the decision was made public.
- “His decision today is a victory for the few extreme environmental activists who have lined up to protest Keystone and a defeat for the tens of thousands of Americans who are lining up to find a Keystone job.” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
- “How long does it take for President Obama to put the needs of America’s workers ahead of his political interests?” Dick Lugar (R-Ind.)
- “I would note that under the law the president signed, the decision to claim that these jobs are not in the national interest is his alone. The president is the only one who can make that determination and block the jobs. “ Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
- “President Obama is about to destroy tens of thousands of American jobs and sell American energy security to the Chinese. The president won’t stand up to his political base even to create American jobs.” Brendan Buck, John Boehner’s spokesman.
Jobs are an important argument. One of the most important arguments when trying to recover a depressed economy. But it is not the only argument, and it is not the most important argument when making policy, especially when making long-term decisions for the health of a nation. We need to create jobs. But we should not be obsessed; we should not create ANY jobs just because they are jobs. Instead, we should create 21st century, forward-looking, nation-improving jobs. Which TRC believes, and hopefully the Obama Administration agrees, are not oil-pumping, greenhouse gas emitting, boreal forest destroying jobs.
And in this light, Texas Gov. and GOP Presidential nominee Rick Perry’s response is particularly telling: “The president’s focused more on the next election than on the next generation.”
This is exactly wrong, Rick Perry. The people of Nebraska who oppose this pipeline, and the people of the Western US who require the Oglala Aquifer for their drinking water, the environmental community and those who prioritize the long-term health of the US and its resources are more concerned about the next generation than they are the this election.
And at least on this decision, so is President Obama. If President Obama were only concerned with the 2012 presidential election, he would have approved this pipeline. That seems fairly safe to assume. Approving the pipeline is more politically expedient than denying it. Because jobs are the word. If you can’t say JOBS in this political atmosphere, you are losing the battle. If you think that the Obama base is appeased by this one action, and thus will boost him in the 2012 general election, you fundamentally misunderstand the liberal voting base.
Regardless of how this action will be taken, TRC is happy to see President Obama make a decision that provides a voice to the future health of this country and its future citizens. TRC is happy Obama can see beyond this moment in January 2012, and make the right choice for January 2212. Because the American citizens of 2212 have the same right to clean drinking water we do. If you can’t look beyond the current predicament, and provide for the future, even in difficult times like these, then you should not be making long-term decisions that will impact the lives of millions of Americans.
This decision now made does not end the Keystone story, nor does it end an all of the above energy agenda including coal, nuclear and gas that the President has always confirmed he supports. But it is a good decision for today. Nice work, Chief.
*UPDATE: Here is the President Obama’s release on the decision:
As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.
In the months ahead, we will continue to look for new ways to partner with the oil and gas industry to increase our energy security — including the potential development of an oil pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico — even as we set higher efficiency standards for cars and trucks and invest in alternatives like biofuels and natural gas.
The decision allows TransCanada to reapply for a permit to build the pipeline, which the company immediately signaled it would do.