Harry Reid Joins Opposition to Keystone XL Pipeline

It seems that the approval of the permit by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to expand the Keystone XL Pipeline, a 1,700 mile-long pipeline that would transport oil from Alberta’s tar sands to Texas oil refineries, is a done deal. However, opponents to the Keystone XL Pipeline gained a powerful ally in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In the Nevada senator’s October 5 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton he called the pipeline “unsustainable.”

Reid declared in his letter that the pipeline’s proponents “would be wiser to invest instead in job-creating clean energy projects, like renewable power, energy efficiency or advanced vehicles and fuels that would employ thousands of people in the United States rather than increasing our dependency on unsustainable supplies of dirty and polluting oil that could easily be exported.”

“I have been contacted by many people across the nation who believe the Final Environmental Impact Statement fails to adequately consider any meaningful alternatives to the proposed pipeline and the threats it poses to our air, land, water, climate and public health,” Reid also stated in the letter.

The Hill reports that Senators opposed to the pipeline are considering their options. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said, “You can hold hearings, you can ask for various kinds of audits … I am looking at a variety of approaches.” Wyden is working with Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in calling for a new State Department environmental study.

“The standard the State Department must consider is whether constructing the pipeline is in the United State’s national interest,” Wyden declared in a recent op-ed piece. The pipeline, according to Wyden, is “good for oil producers…good for the Chinese government.”

Republican Nebraska governor urges Clinton and Obama to reject the needed permit

This week Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, a Republican, called for a special legislative session on the pipeline’s proposed route to be held on November 1. Heineman has urged both Clinton and Obama to reject the permit needed to expand the pipeline. A permit is required because the pipeline would cross the Canadian border.

Heineman said in a statement on October 24 that the Nebraska state legislature should hold a “thoughtful and thorough public discussion” abut the proposed route of the pipeline.

“This move shows that it’s not a partisan issue,” said Anthony Swift, a policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C. “The State Department has been trying to move the permitting on this as quickly as possible. Nebraska wants more evaluation.”

Photo: Wikipedia user, PD Tillman

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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