As reds and blues unite behind Keystone, greens prepare for battle

By   /   January 31, 2013  /   News  /   No Comments

IT’S TIME: Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, says the president should approve Keystone to put Montanans to work.

By Dustin Hurst |

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Not much unites lawmakers in the nation’s capital these days, but there’s seemingly nothing anyone can do to appease global warming activists bent on putting the nation’s energy suppliers out of business.

In a rare showing of cohesion on otherwise warring foes, 53 members of the U.S. Senate banded together earlier this month to show strong support for the Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,700-mile-long conduit that will transport oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Oklahoma and eastern Texas.

“Americans can’t afford to wait for these jobs any longer,” Montana Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat, said in a statement to the press. “We’ve done more than four years of careful studying and planning. No more excuses; it’s time to put Montanans to work building the Keystone pipeline.”

The project’s backer, TransCanada, has waited more than four years for approval since submitting its original permit application. The pipeline would move more than 800,000 barrels of oil each day to the refineries.

“After more than 4 1/2 years and an exhaustive review process, it’s time to come together, Republicans and Democrats, and do what is clearly in our national interest,” North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, a Republican, urged.

Proponents of the pipeline say the project will create thousands of jobs and support oil imports from America’s friendly neighbor to the north.

END THE WAIT: Hoeven, a North Dakota Republican, says TransCanada and workers have waited long enough for Keystone approval.

While the reds and blues join hands to urge President Barack Obama to approve the line, the greens want absolutely no part of the harmony.

This moment is so important for the greenies they’re amplifying their attack on the projects and its backers.

The Sierra Club, for the first time in its 120-year history, will lift an institutional ban on civil disobedience to protest Keystone. That’s a huge move for the club, so lovingly described as “the conservative, curmudgeonly grandfather of environmentalist groups,” an organization averse to cheap stunts and shenanigans.

The club’s executive director, Michael Brune, wouldn’t divulge in a Mother Jones interview what the group has planned for its civil disobedience, but he pledged to participate at such a critical time for the environmental left.

“In particular the president has an enormous opportunity to follow-up on his inaugural speech with a concerted course of action to aggressively take on a clean energy transition,” Brune told the left-leaning publication. “Civil disobedience can help provide the momentum for him to do that, and that’s why we’re engaging in it.”

While tapping the vast reserves means America will continue to enjoy ample oil imports from Canadian allies, environmentalists see only the negative: the United States forever committed to something other than windmills and solar panels.

How much do environmentalists loathe the prospect of the 36-inch-diameter pipe running down the center of the country? So much that Van Jones, Obama’s former green jobs czar, in a speech last year dubbed Keystone a “dirty needle of a pipeline.” Another cabal of anti-pipeline activists warned “the Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent.”

Not much for subtlety, are they?

Though greenies have rallied against the pipeline in the not-too-distant past, they’re set to do it again on President’s Day in Washington, D.C. —, the Sierra Club and the Hip Hop Caucus are calling on their members to descend upon the capital for what they believe will be the “largest climate rally in history.”

“The Keystone XL pipeline isn’t dead yet,”, the Sierra Club and the Hip Hop Caucus declare in a joint statement on the website. “If President Obama is serious about tackling climate change, he needs to reject KXL once and for all. And we’re not going away until that happens.”

In November 2011, Obama delayed a final decision on Keystone, a maneuver largely seen as an election-year attempt to thread the needle between two of the president’s biggest supporters: the pipeline-backing unions and the global warming crowd.

Pundits long thought approval was a veritable slam dunk after Obama won re-election, but the president shattered that impression when, in his second inaugural address, he promised to tackle global warming.

The U.S. Department of State, which holds authority on the project because the line crosses an international border, said it will issue its final environmental review in April. A decision by the president would likely come shortly after the document is released.

Contact: [email protected] or @DustinHurst via Twitter.

— Edited by John Trump at [email protected]