145 Former Obama Campaign Staffers Urge Him To Reject Keystone XL

(Credit: AP)

More than 100 former Obama campaign workers are urging the president to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, in a move that comes just days after 22 former Obama campaigners were arrested while peacefully protesting the pipeline in Chicago.

In a letter released Thursday, 145 members of Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns called on the president to “make the right decision” on the pipeline:

Mr. President, we are just a few of the millions of young people across the country who are frightened at the prospect of runaway climate change. One of the reasons we came to work for you in the first place is because we trust you understand how big this challenge is.

You already know all the reasons we can’t afford this pipeline — that it will lock in gigatons of carbon pollution over the next four decades and that it could spill into our nation’s most valuable water sources — we’re just asking you to think of us when you make up your mind. Dozens of supporters across the country told us they were casting their ballot for someone they could count on to make the tough calls when it came to our security and our health care and our climate. They voted for you, Mr. President, because we told them you’d be on the right side of history when you had to make these calls. Because we knew you’d do the right thing and stop this pipeline.

Public pushback against Keystone XL — which Obama is expected to decide on by this winter — has picked up over the past few months, following the State Department’s release of the project’s environmental impact statement. On Thursday, the 145 signatories joined billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer as he unveiled a social media campaign against Keystone XL that aims to garner support from Obama’s supporters. (Full disclosure: Steyer is a member of the Board of Directors at the Center for American Progress.) Also on Thursday, a group of nurses and environmental activists marched across the Golden Gate Bridge in hopes of highlighting the health impacts of the pipeline, which run from air pollution, to the risk of contaminated water and illness from spills, to the increased risk of disease spread in a warming world.

The renewed push against Keystone XL comes as recent reports and events shed light on the pipeline’s disputed safety and the environmental impacts of tar sands mining. If Keystone XL is built, TransCanada won’t be using the latest technology in spill detection for the pipeline; it would have to be spilling oil at a rate of 12,000 barrels a day before its spill detectors would sound an alarm. A report from Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board found TransCanada failed to clean up the “vast and expanding” toxic waste ponds leftover from tar sands mining, which kill about 7,000 ducks and geese every year. And a massive toxic waste spill from an oil and gas mining site in Alberta covered more than 1,000 acres in early June, causing “every plant and tree” to die.

8 Responses to 145 Former Obama Campaign Staffers Urge Him To Reject Keystone XL

  1. Jacob says:

    If Barak Obama has any integrity he will reject the Keystone XL pipeline. I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Mugsy says:

    I’m still astounded that Pres. Obama might be taken in by the OUTRAGEOUS myths of “tons of jobs and cheap gasoline” so easily and might actually approve something so disastrous. Facts, photos & video: The Truth About KXL

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    Tom, John, Neera, Joe – and Hillary

    TOM STEYER, the billionaire climate activist who recently launched a social media campaign against Keystone XL, is on CAP’s Board of Directors.

    Long-time CAP leader JOHN PODESTA was on the high-level international panel that issued the recent report (covered in another CP post today) warning about climate change and the need to do something about it soon. And, of course, John has extensive experience working for Bill Clinton.

    NEERA TANDEN, CAP’s present president, has extensive experience working for and with Hillary Clinton in roles that would require and imply a close and trusting relationship. (For those who haven’t already, see Ms. Tanden’s bio on CAP’s website.)

    And JOE needs no introduction here, of course. Suffice it to say that Joe is well aware of the dangers of climate change, the need to address it ASAP, and the immense need for political leadership dedicated to addressing it.

    For Goodness Sake then, shouldn’t CAP play a proactive leadership role in making sure that we (progressives, Democrats, citizens concerned about climate change) find out and understand Hillary’s position and commitment with respect to climate change in concrete terms and as soon as possible, that is, before she is considered to be the next Democratic nominee for president by sheer momentum or default?

    If you consider our present situation (I hope I don’t need to describe it here!), then my point here shouldn’t require any further explanation. We need to make sure that our next nominee, and our next elected president, is a Real Leader who has a clear, credible, forthright, compelling, convincing, and sufficient-to-the-task position on climate change and has the ability and courage to Lead, to get the job done! To make the tough decisions when they need to be made! To consult science and conscience when dealing with climate change, not the polls or dial-meter-gadgets! To Lead public opinion, not follow it!

    We need to test and find out if Hillary is such a person, or not, and we need to do that ASAP. Again, no further explanation should be needed.

    So then, as I’ve suggested here many times before, I ask that CP and CAP lead the charge in helping to find out and understand Hillary’s position in clear and concrete terms, starting now. Among other questions, this one is timely and concrete, and should be asked of Hillary, persistently, until she answers it clearly: “How would you rule regarding Keystone XL if you were president today — that is, if it were your decision to make? Would you approve it or deny approval? Please be clear and decisive and forthright. Thanks.”

    There is no better group, no group of folks with better access, to help find out Hillary’s position in concrete terms, to help the public understand it, and to help Hillary understand (if necessary) the necessity of defining and sharing her position clearly and forthrightly with the public – and of demonstrating real Leadership – if she wants to earn the nomination. CAP, John, Neera, Tom, and Joe.

    I’m interested in hearing what CAP/CP thinks on this.

    As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote long ago,

    “Your goodness must have some edge to it, — else it is none.”

    Thanks and Be Well,


  4. Sasparilla says:

    On the one hand it’s easy to be surprised based on his words, but if you look at the President’s actions (& Hilary Clinton’s as Sec of State) it’s not surprising. In the late spring of 2009, with oil at 5 year lows in prices, Hilary & Barack approved the 1st two tar sands pipelines (Keystone 1 & Alberta Clipper) – unlocking the Canadian Tar Sands.

    It will actually be a surprise, to me, if the President doesn’t approve the XL expansion.

  5. fj says:

    The President must act on this moment and stop the delusion of safety.

    He must stop Keystone XL now.

    He must start action on climate change at wartime speed.

  6. Colleen Shelley says:

    Dear Mr. President,
    In regards to the Keystone XL pipeline. Are you fracking kidding me. If you approve this madness my disappointment will be real and you will have forever tarred your legacy. The misery of those who will suffer for this disastrous decision will be on your hands. And as we have seen with BP oil disaster, Exon spill ect. ect. real pain comes from these choices to harm our environment for cheap oil. You are better than this.

  7. dick smith says:

    Well said. Good question. Keep asking.

  8. Anne van der Bom says:

    “it would have to be spilling oil at a rate of 12,000 barrels a day before its spill detectors would sound an alarm”

    12,000 barrels a day? That seems a bit steep. I guess the correct unit would have to be gallons, not barrels.