Keystone XL Puts President in Political Bind

Feb 15, 2013

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York notes the political bind President Obama is in over the Keystone XL pipeline:

A brief moment on Wednesday showed why President Obama can't win when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline. In front of the White House, protesters led by actress Daryl Hannah and the head of the Sierra Club demanded that Obama kill the project. Just a few blocks away, the head of the AFL-CIO's powerful Building and Construction Trades Department joined with the American Petroleum Institute to demand that Obama approve it.

Environmental groups have made the pipeline a centerpiece of their movement and are staking a lot on stopping it.'s Bill McKibbon, told CNN"We have to leave stuff in the ground, and that's what the Keystone fight is about." For the first time in its history the Sierra Club endorsed civil disobedience (i.e. getting arrested) in its attempt to stop the pipeline. That organization's Executive Director Michael Brune and President Allison Chin along with Hollywood actress Daryl Hannah and others were arrested after they chained themselves to fence outside the White House on Wednesday. Reason's Ronald Bailey linked to the Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica bragging, "I was arrested for the first time in my life!" Thousands are expected to take part in a march against the pipeline on the National Mall on Sunday.

While Wednesday's protest was taking place, Sean McGarvey, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO was telling reporters why the Keystone XL pipeline should be approved:

There is no reason for any further delay.

In fact, there is every reason in the world to approve this project.

This has been the most scrutinized infrastructure project perhaps in our nation's history.  And at every juncture, concerns about safety and the environment have been met and satisfied.

It is now time to build the Keystone XL pipeline and put thousands of Americans back to work.

Labor unions understand that construction and operation of the pipeline will create thousands of jobs—as many as 20,000.

Along with support from labor unions, there’s strong public support for the pipeline. A poll conducted for the American Petroleum Institute found that 69% of voters back Keystone XL. Mark Green at Energy Tomorrow adds that this finding is consistent with other polls.

In a few months, the administration is expected to make a decision. Will the President choose jobs and energy security, or will he again placate a small minority whose objective is to keep us from using the rich energy abundance below our feet?

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