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lizpolaris's picture

Many environmentalists are celebrating a 'victory' over the Keystone Pipeline delay.

In a stunning reversal of a “done deal,” the Obama administration has sent the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline back to review at the State Department...There will be a “supplemental” environmental impact statement — presumably one that isn’t rigged

Reversal would usually be applied to a 180 degree turn. What's been announced is merely a delay. There's no reversal at all. So no, I'm not stunned.

In fact, I'm the opposite of stunned. This move looks like the time-honored tactic of delaying an unpopular action until after an election. What a surprise that this is exactly what's taking place here.

Presumably, the new impact statement will be whatever is needed to proceed with the pipeline, adjusted for minimum delay and maximum obfuscation. Then the pipeline deal can be safely whisked through for approval after the campaign.

Why spend time arguing over a done deal when you're just going to piss off some of your voters? Now, the issue is completely off the table and can be ignored. The environmentalist vote has been secured due to this Phyrric victory. Who cares what they think or do a year and a half from now?

Is this a case of willful ignorance or are we really too stupid to see through this obvious political ploy?

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Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

Here's a link to what Bill McKibben is saying about this:

http://www.grist.org/oil/2011-11-10-we-w...

He is very pleased, and notes that this is NOT just a delay. The Obama Admin is requesting a new review and that it "explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess. There's no way, with an honest review, that a pipeline that helps speed the tapping of the world's second-largest pool of carbon can pass environmental muster."

If it wasn't for Bill McKibben, this pipeline would have been approved already. So, are we calling Bill McKibben stupid?

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

So many people have been thrown under the bus by this guy so many times already.

I admire McKibben for fighting the good fight and hoping for the best but realistically, this looks like just another ploy. I think it would be better for him to couch his enthusiasm with caution - something more like "Gee, this is great for now but this is not the end of the story and we'll see how it plays out." What leverage will McKibben and his organization have should Obama be reelected? Zero - and he may get treated that way.

Celebrating this as a change in direction rather than a vote getting strategy doesn't seem warranted without more evidence of actual change in direction. Right now, other than reacting to negative press, I don't see any. What was the cause given for requested the new impact study? Complaints from voters.

Given the same agency will be conducting the new review, why would it be expected that it will be more honest than the last one or have a different outcome? CHange the route a bit so you can say you listened to the public and proceed.

I hope I'm wrong.

Think Liberally's picture
Submitted by Think Liberally on

Here's the key graf:

Some in our movement will say that this decision is just politics as usual, that the president wants us off the streets -- and off his front lawn -- until after the election, at which point the administration can approve the pipeline, alienating its supporters without electoral consequence. The president should know that if this pipeline proposal somehow reemerges from the review process, we will use every tool at our disposal to keep it from ever being built; if there's a lesson of the last few months, both in our work and in the Occupy encampments around the world, it's that sometimes we have to put our bodies on the line.

He seems to be explicitly acknowledging the case that we fear, and saying that the tools at our disposal at that point are...more protests.

It may work. Certainly I am very grateful for the efforts he and many others have made. The fear that I and others have is that even the same-sized protests, or even larger protests, will be ignored after a successful election, when Obama has earned himself a "mandate".

The example here is the Iraqi War protests. They were massive, but because the media ignored them, and the administration knew that they would lose nothing by ignoring them, they changed nothing.

Am I saying do nothing? No. But I think cynicism and vigilance are warranted.

malagodi's picture
Submitted by malagodi on

I was one of the 1200 arrested. I chose not to do the 'circle of hope' action.

I did what I did because it was the right action at the right time.

When McKibben issued his 'victory' statement, I sked, 'what victory'?

When I read his "some in our movement will say" statement, I said "he must be talking about me."

It is nevertheless a good position statement, carefully crafted, that reflects the nuanced physical and at least some political realities of the situation.

What I do find stupid and rather useless, however, is the exploitation of this effort to make yet another repetition of the same old tired meme; that President Obama is a liar and nothing more than a hypocritical politician and anyone not making this their banner headline is a dupe. It's an insult not just to McKibben but to everyone who made an effort in this project.

Who, exactly, are you calling stupid? What, exactly, is the finer point of this tome?

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

I was another of the 1200. I think it's important to keep in mind that as long as there is a giant vat of oil, there are going to be greedy assholes trying to profit off of it.

In other words, this isn't a fight that can be expected to have an "ending". The best case scenario is to have leaders who come up with ways of kicking the can far down the road, few years at a time if possible. Which is what Obama did. And though I am not a fan of this president at all, I definitely feel that he made the best possible choice here.

No matter who the next president is, they are going to be given a report which is highly likely to have less conflicts and a much better assessment of how truly damaging this pipeline will be to the local and global environment. That greatly increases the chances that the can will be kicked far down the road again.

Submitted by lambert on

A lot better. I know how hard it is to hold up a permitting process at the local level, let alone a project of this scale. And kudos to the 1200!

That said, we know Obama pretty well by now, I'd say. And the idea that he's punting until 2013 is well within the realm of possibility., Based on performance, that's not cynicism, but realism.

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

In fact, I'm the opposite of stunned. This move looks like the time-honored tactic of delaying an unpopular action until after an election. What a surprise that this is exactly what's taking place here.

I can't possibly imagine what you mean by that...