The unnecessarily complicated and epic saga of what in any sane scenario would be a pretty innocuous pipeline project — the type of which we’re going to more in the coming years to cope with the still-burgeoning shale oil-and-gas boom, by the way — continues apace, as the State Department (ostensibly) prepares to release the final version of its impact review of the Keystone XL pipeline. Never mind that they have already produced multiple impact reports over the past several years attesting that they can’t find any good reason not to build it, and that they’ve been promising to finally release this sucker for months and months and continually pushing back the date; I think, by the latest count, we’re at late-2013/early-2014 for a decision, but I won’t get my hopes up.
In his much-vaunted climate-change address in June, the president tried to reassure his eco-radical contingent that his administration will only approve the Keystone XL pipeline if they find that it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” That, of course, sent everyone concerned into a tizzy wondering just what the heck that’s supposed to mean — whether the “I hear you” message was a hint that they’re getting ready to shut this thing down, or an attempt to soften the eventual blow.
Green groups, however, are preparing for the worst, and would like the Obama administration to know that — in the event of what they interpret as an unfavorable outcome — there will be protests. Via HuffPo:
Environmental groups CREDO, Rainforest Action Network and the Other 98% say they are organizing more than 750 activists to lead mass acts of civil disobedience around the country, should the State Department sign off on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
“We will deploy large-scale actions in major cities, and hundreds of activist-led, local distributed actions, with peaceful dignified sit-ins taking place in front of strategic locations,” the groups said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post.
The advocacy efforts come in advance of the State Department’s pending National Interest Determination, the final step in the pipeline review process before President Barack Obama must make his decision. As of Friday morning, almost 70,000 people had vowed to risk arrest if the State Department recommends the president approve the pipeline, according to the groups’ pledge.
… Targeted areas will include offices for Organizing for Action, a nonprofit advocacy group closely tied to the Obama White House, State Department offices and Canadian embassies, among other locations.
It isn’t so much these fringe protesters motivating the administration’s inexcusable and extraordinary delay, however, as it is the well-monied and self-fancied “green” Democratic donors of the sort that show up to those $35k/plate fundraising dinners. As we await this way-past-due decision and simultaneously try to tolerate its obnoxiously trumped-up importance, it’s probably worth keeping this in mind:
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in mid-March found that 66% of Americans favored building the pipeline while 23% opposed doing so. Support for the pipeline cut across partisan and demographic lines. Substantial majorities of Republicans (82%) and independents (70%) favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, as do 54% of Democrats. Among Democrats, 60% of party moderates and conservatives support the pipeline compared to 42% of liberals.