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11/04/2011 02:28 PM     print story email story  

Obama Frets Over Tar Sands Action November 6 News says they expect 10,000 people to participate November 6, when they will form a human ring around the White House to protest the looming decision on the  tar sands pipeline.

Burning tar sands is "game over" for climate change, says the world's leading climatologist, James Hansen, who was one of the 1200 people arrested at the September White House protest.

"If Obama chooses the dirty needle it will confirm he was just greenwashing all along, like the other well-oiled coal-fired politicians, with no real intention of solving the addiction," Hansen told ClimateWire. 20 of the nation's top scientists asked Obama to reject the pipeline in a personal letter. Unions, Businesses, and the NY Times have spoken out against it.

It's been shown the US doesn't need tar sands oil because consumption is declining and that most of it will be exported anyway. And the Koch Bros. handles 25% of tar sand oil, which is the real push behind its approval.

Obama advisers rightly fear that if he decides in favor of the catastrophic Keystone pipeline, it would be a huge blow to his base - which he needs to campaign for him in battleground states.

President Obama said this to a Nebraska TV when asked about the pipeline:

The State Department's in charge of analyzing this, because there's a pipeline coming in from Canada. They'll be giving me a report over the next several months, and, you know, my general attitude is, what is best for the American people? What's best for our economy both short term and long term? But also, what's best for the health of the American people?

When asked about the potential for new jobs and how it plays into his decision, he said:

I think folks in Nebraska, like all across the country, aren't going to say to themselves, "We'll take a few thousand jobs if it means that our kids are potentially drinking water that would damage their health ..."

Pretty vague remarks, but still, he's aware and is paying attention. Since Obama's re-election is tied up with creating jobs, it's hard to imagine that he'll turn the pipeline down - even though its "game over" for climate change.

Meanwhile, the Nebraska legislature is meeting to consider the state's options for protecting its land and water from the pipeline, after being ignored by the State Department when they asked it to seriously consider alternative routes. States have the power to determine the route of the pipeline.

Transcanada then sweetened the deal by offering a $100 million "performance bond" to Nebraska, which would pay for damage to the Ogallala Aquifer if the pipeline starts to leak.

Democratic members of Congress, led by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), want the decision put on hold until there's an investigation of the biased State Department environmental analysis. The State Dept. hired a TransCanada-affiliated firm to do the environmental assessment for the pipeline. They say Obama should reject the pipeline as against the public interest but that it's also important that the Administration get the process and substance of the review right.

And the Obama administration has hired a former TransCanada lobbyist as a senior advisor for his re-election campaign.

Even without a permit, TransCanada is suing landowners who refuse to allow the pipeline on their property and is threatening to use eminent domain to seize the land. We reported the company is already grasslands and other sensitive areas.

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