Why the Keystone XL Veto Is Such a Huge Victory for Climate Advocates
Yesterday, President Obama took the historic step of vetoing legislation that would have approved the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. This is important news for many reasons: it reinforces the President’s commitment to clean energy and his support of climate science. It shows his ability to resist a powerful lobby, and stand up for the health and security of Americans. But the veto represents another major milestone: an understanding that to seriously address climate change, we need leave fossil fuels in the ground, not just cut emissions. As Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, says in this Washington Post article, Keystone “has been the first major public fight to argue that we have to begin to curtail production.”
The efforts and dedication of climate advocates have brought this sea change about, and it’s a huge step forward for the climate movement. All of us at ecoAmerica have been bolstered by this news, and we’re more motivated than ever to fight for climate solutions. Please join us in helping to keep this momentum going.
Chris Mooney, Contributor to The Washington Post
The seemingly unending Keystone XL saga hit the spotlight again Tuesday — when President Obama vetoed legislation that would have approved the pipeline. The bill sent to him, wrote the president, “conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest.”
Obama could still approve the pipeline itself after the executive processes that he describes, centered at the State Department, run their course. But for now, the significance of this move is worth considering. For what it means, above all, is that a relatively novel environmentalist strategy — aimed at deliberately blocking certain kinds of fossil fuel production and extraction — has now forced the hand of no less than the president himself.
“Most actions that have been taken on climate change have been about smokestacks and tail pipes,” says Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. Keystone, he said, “has been the first major public fight to argue that we have to begin to curtail production.”
Image credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin