Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is officially against the Keystone XL pipeline.
After months of hedging on the issue, Clinton said she opposes the controversial tar sands pipeline proposal because it represents a “distraction from the important work we have to do on climate change.” The Democratic front-runner made her comments on Wednesday afternoon after a student asked her about the pipeline at a town hall meeting in Iowa.
Clinton’s full comments are below:
Hillary Clinton calls Keystone XL a distraction, says she opposes its construction pic.twitter.com/dW4FaxfEBR
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) September 22, 2015
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline is a 1,179-mile extension to the Keystone Pipeline System, and it would bring tar sands crude oil from Canada down to refineries on the Gulf coast. The project has been stalled for years, as President Obama has been reluctant to approve it partially due to environmental concerns.
Clinton had previously refused to take a position on Keystone XL, citing the fact that she oversaw the approval process during her tenure as Secretary of State and wanted to wait until the Obama administration had come to a decision. Four days ago, however, she said she could not wait much longer, and said her decision would come “soon.”
Environmentalists decry tar sands oil extraction in part because of its carbon intensity. The extraction process causes more greenhouse gas emissions than other types of oil.