Clinton announces Keystone opposition
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline, breaking months of silence on a hot-button issue that had her torn between environmentalists and labor unions that are both powerful forces within the party.
Mrs. Clinton said that she sided with environmentalists because the long-stalled pipeline project had become a “distraction” from advancing a climatechange agenda.
“I oppose it because I don’t think it is in the best interest of what we need to do to fight climate change,” Mrs. Clinton said at a campaign event at an elementary school in Des Moines, Iowa.
Mrs. Clinton had hinted a day earlier that she would soon announce her position on the proposed cross-country oil pipeline, but the announcement came as a surprise during a question-and-answer session.
The question about the Keystone XL project was posed by a school-age girl in the audience, prompting speculation that the question was planted by the campaign.
The revelation of Mrs. Clinton’s pipeline views also coincided with the arrival in the U.S. of Pope Francis, who strongly advocates for fighting climate change and has called it “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”
Environmentalists applauded Mrs. Clinton for joining the cause. Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, said she was “thrilled.”
“This is exactly the kind of leadership we need in order to leave a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren,” she said. “Secretary Clinton’s recent clean energy proposal, coupled with her opposition to drilling in the Arctic Ocean and now to Keystone XL, is both inspiring and exciting.”
Environmentalists oppose building the 875-mile pipeline because of the increased production of fossil fuels and the risk of oil spills.
Labor unions, some of which have criticized Mrs. Clinton for hedging on the issue, support the project because it would create jobs.
They also point out that Canada has said the oil will be mined and burned no matter what, meaning there’ll be no global emissions difference, and, if sold to American customers, it would then be shipped to the U.S. via railcars, which also risk spills.