White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tried yesterday to pass the buck on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, telling reporters the decision to approve the dangerous fossil project “will be made by the State Department“:
This is a decision that will be made by the State Department, or is housed within the State Department. And they are taking into . . . they are in a phase now of taking into account public comment and comments certainly from experts, both environmental, as well as energy experts. So this process includes a full review of various concerns from all areas.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is responsible for recommending whether the pipeline is in American national interest, but the final decision does fall to President Obama to issue the final Presidential Permit. The Environmental Protection Agency can formally force the issue through the National Environmental Policy Act, but has not done so.
However, last week President Barack Obama personally recognized the “deep concern” with the tar sands pipeline and said that “we will address it.”
A hallmark of Obama’s presidency has been his repeated assumption of final responsibility for the actions of the federal government. Obama has said the “buck stops with me” on the jobs crisis, on AIG bailout, on national security, and on the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Activists expect that the buck stops with President Obama on the pipeline as well. They’ll be surrounding the White House on Nov. 6 in a mass action to keep the pressure on the president to protect the climate system from fossil-driven greed.