New Year’s Resolution: No on KXL

New Year’s Resolution: No on KXL

My New Year's resolution for 2014 is a holdover from 2013: get President Obama to say "No on Keystone XL." Please don't mistake: It's not a failure that I'm making the same resolution again. The fact is that making it all the way through 2013 without a "yes" from Obama on this issue is a huge victory for a grassroots movement, especially because it's something the powerful Big Oil lobby desperately wants.

If we won in 2013 through delay, I believe we can win outright in 2014. That said, there are ominous warning signs that we can't coast on our momentum. The biggest is that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, the officials who have been feeling the most pressure over Keystone XL, have been trying to distance themselves from the decision. They'd prefer if we focused our attention on the same bought and paid-for consultants who wrote the sham report on Keystone XL, that the EPA slammed as insufficient. We cannot allow this to happen.

President Obama said there was a climate test for Keystone XL — specifically that if Keystone will increase carbon pollution, he wouldn't approve it. Well, I can save a lot of time and suspense: there's no way to dig up and transport all that dirty tar sand oil without increasing carbon pollution in a big way.

So why did the State Department initially say there was no meaningful climate impact from the pipeline? By claiming that burning the tar sands was inevitable. We know from years of fighting this "done deal" that if Big Oil says it's inevitable, it's because they are deathly afraid of losing.

Fortunately, we have the truth on our side. Tar sands cannot be transported safely or effectively via trains. If it could be, they wouldn't need a pipeline (which by the way isn't any safer). Still we keep hearing these cynical, defeatist arguments from people like EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who agreed that tar sands development is, yes, inevitable. Inevitable is also a politician's code word for "not my problem."

We need to keep making Keystone the president's problem, and his entire environmental team's problem as well. If we do, I think we can win this in 2014.