Keystone XL? 'Shut it down' protestors say, Senators ask Obama to approve it
This weekend thousands protested in Washington against the Keystone XL pipeline. The protests followed a push by a bipartisan group of senators asking President Obama to approve the pipeline.
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The proposed TransCanada Corp project has been pending for 4-1/2 years. A revised route through Nebraska, which would avoid crossing sensitive ecological zones and aquifers, was approved by that state's governor last month.Skip to next paragraph
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Backers of Keystone, which would transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day, say it would provide thousands of jobs in the United States and increase North American energy security.
Environmentalists oppose the pipeline because the oil sands extraction process is carbon intensive, and say the oil extracted is dirtier than traditional crude oil.
Van Jones, Obama's former green jobs adviser, said if the president approved the pipeline just weeks after pledging to act on climate change, it would overshadow other actions Obama takes to reduce pollution.
"There is nothing else you can do if you let that pipeline go through. It doesn't matter what you do on smog rules and automobile rules - you've already given the whole game way," said Jones, who is president of Rebuild theDream, a non-government organization.
"He would have to roll out a very complete and very strong package to offset something that on its own is described by government scientist as 'game-over' on climate," he said.
Still, some of Obama's core constituents favor the pipeline, including the labor union AFL-CIO's building and construction unit, which sees the potential for job creation for its members, and certain Democratic lawmakers.
In January, nine Democratic senators joined 44 Republicans in urging the president to approve Keystone XL.