Reactions to Obama’s line in the (tar) sand

The White House says President Barack Obama would veto legislation approving construction of the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline, the AP reports.

From House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

John Boehner“On a bipartisan basis, the American people overwhelmingly support building the Keystone XL pipeline. After years of manufacturing every possible excuse, today President Obama was finally straight with the them about where he truly stands. His answer is no to more American infrastructure, no to more American energy, and no to more American jobs. Fringe extremists in the president’s party are the only ones who oppose Keystone, but the president has chosen to side with them instead of the American people and the government’s own scientific evidence that this project is safe for the environment. This is simply another sign that President Obama is hopelessly out of touch and has no plans to listen to the American people or champion their priorities.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

Barbara Boxer“The President should only sign bills that are good for America, but the Keystone tar sands pipeline does nothing for our country and everything for Canada. In addition, reports show the pipeline project will increase the price of gas, while the tar sands flowing through the pipeline will result in pollution that causes serious illnesses like asthma and increases in carbon pollution – the main cause of climate change. It is a puzzle to me that after a deep recession, Republicans turn to legislation that according to the State Department will only create 35 permanent jobs. Instead, Republican leadership should immediately take up the highway bill which supports millions of jobs and will run out of funding in four short months.”

More, after the jump…

From hedge-fund-billionaire-turned-environmental activist Tom Steyer:

“As Congress returns to Capitol Hill this week, Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have made it clear that their first legislative priority is to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Rather than taking action to support clean energy investments that will spur innovation and create good paying jobs here at home, they have instead chosen to support the Keystone XL pipeline and the false promises made by its proponents.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is a bad deal for the United States and an even worse deal for the future of our children, our environment, and our economy. The fact remains: the Keystone XL pipeline would mean millions of tons of new carbon pollution entering the air, and could also mean dozens of newly polluted waterways and poisoned communities all across the Midwest. And despite inflated talking points to the contrary, the Keystone XL pipeline would only create 35 permanent U.S. jobs.

“The United States is at a crucial crossroads when it comes to energy policy. As a nation, we can either move forward to a pro-job, clean energy future, or move backwards towards energy policies that expand the use of fossil fuels, dump more carbon pollution, and place our long-term environmental health and economic security at risk.

“Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have charted their course. They’ve decided to place support of their Big Oil backers above the interests of the American people—supporting a pipeline that would pump oil through the United States and out to foreign countries around the world. Their top priority is building the Keystone XL pipeline—essentially doing the bidding of a foreign company that will build an oil pass-through to the global market that dangerously cuts through the heartland of our nation.

“It’s time to stand up to the corporate polluters, protect the health and safety of the next generation, and reject the Keystone XL pipeline.”

From Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune:

“It’s becoming more clear by the day that President Obama rightly recognizes this dirty and dangerous tar sands pipeline is a bad deal for our country.

“Meanwhile, the Congressional Republicans who are preparing to use their very first vote to push the agenda of the oil and gas executives who helped elect them are wasting everyone’s time yet again. The decision to approve or deny Keystone XL has always belonged to the President alone, and he has now made it clear that he’ll reject attacks on that authority. President Obama has also said he’d oppose the tar sands pipeline if it contributes to the climate crisis. He has all the evidence he needs to know that it does and reject Keystone XL. Sierra Club activists around the country are ready to applaud and support him when he does.”

From Danielle Droitsch, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Canada Project:

“The president made the right call. What’s needed now is for him to kill the dirty tar sands pipeline outright.

“As promised, the GOP leadership in Congress wants to play pipeline politics with our future. The president is focused on a single question: Is the tar sands pipeline in the national interest?

“It’s not. It would pipe some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through the breadbasket of America so most of it could be shipped overseas. It’s not a plan to help our country. It’s about big profits for big oil – and big pollution for the rest of us.

“On principle, the president is right to put the national interest first. It’s not the role of Congress to short-circuit the legitimate process of presidential review designed to ensure the best outcome for the country.

“All evidence makes it clear: The tar sands pipeline is a bad idea. It needs to be denied.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.