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'Unforgivable': Piecemeal Climate Action No Cover for KXL Approval, say Groups

Speculation mounts that Obama is angling for political cover by pushing series of à la carte proposals designed to make tar sands pipeline more palatable. That would be a huge mistake, say activists.

- Jon Queally, staff writer

'There is not a blanket of regulations big enough to cover the pipeline elephant in the room,' says 350.org's Jamie Henn.(Photo: 350.org / Flickr / Creative Commons)Though environmentalists appreciate the go-it-alone approach contained in some of President Obama's latest policy proposals on fuel efficiency standards and power plant emissions, they are also quick to say that none of these à la carte rule changes or executive orders will be enough to cement his legacy as a climate champion if he goes ahead and approves the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

And, as the top headline at The Hill on Wednesday morning states, if Obama is using this "flurry of climate change initiatives" as an attempt "to soften up environmental supporters ahead of [a planned] approval of the Keystone XL pipeline" there will be "no forgiveness" from the climate movement.

According to the newspaper:

While complimenting Obama’s calls for a $1 billion climate change resiliency fund and tougher fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks, they say none of that will make up for green-lighting Keystone.

“There is not a blanket of regulations big enough to cover the pipeline elephant in the room,” said Jamie Henn of the green group 350.org. “There is nothing the administration could do to negate the impact the pipeline would have on the climate.”

If Obama approves Keystone, it will provoke a “vehement reaction” from environmental groups, said David Goldston, director of governmental affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“People have speculated that a push in climate policies could be some kind of trade-off but for the environmental community there is no such trade-off on Keystone XL,” Goldston said. “I don’t think that’s a strategy that would work in terms of the environmental movement either substantively or politically.”

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