After years of refusing to take a stand, Hillary Clinton said yesterday that she opposes the Keystone Pipeline. It has been widely noted that Clinton made the announcement when the hoopla about Pope Francis' visit was in full swing, perhaps with an eye to minimizing coverage of her decision.
According to a copy of her remarks provided by her campaign, Clinton said, “I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone Pipeline as what I believe it is—a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change, and unfortunately, from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward to deal with all the other issues. Therefore, I oppose it.”
Clinton’s answer came in response to a question from a Drake University student who said that climate change was an important issue for her, and that she opposed the Keystone XL pipeline because of it.
The revelation of her position in Iowa will likely help the Democratic White House candidate corral support among green activists, but the project is supported by a large number of labor unions, another key part of the Democratic base. Speaking to jobs specifically Tuesday, Clinton said she wants to implement a policy that would “put thousands of Americans to work” fixing old, leaky pipelines and repairing railcars, rail beds, and rail tracks that currently transport oil. She said there are “a lot more jobs, from my perspective, on a North American clean energy agenda than you would ever get from one pipeline crossing the border.”
TransCanada Corp.’s proposed multibillion-dollar project to bring crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries remains under Obama administration review, but President Obama has made several comments critical of the project, fueling widespread expectation that he’ll ultimately reject it.
Clinton’s team tipped off the White House that she was about to come out in opposition to the project, a campaign aide said. “The White House was briefed on Clinton’s position on the Keystone project prior to her comments today,” the aide said.
This announcement dashes any lingering belief that Mrs. Clinton, if elected president, would be more like her husband, who often took steps that were aimed at allowing the economy to prosper, even if not ideologically pure, than like Barack Obama.