Obama's environmental speech indicates Keystone XL pipeline to be approved

President Barack Obama’s environmental speech will outline his second term plans to reduce carbon emissions and boost renewable fuels, but talk about the controversial Keystone XL pipeline may be left out, indicating that it may soon be approved.

The president’s address at Georgetown University will detail his
agenda to tackle global warming, but environmental activists may
be disappointed to hear little about the obscure pipeline project
that has triggered rallies and protests from environmentalists
across the nation.

A YouTube video preview of the president’s speech depicts an oil
refinery, not a coal-fired plant. Obama then announces his
upcoming “national plan to reduce carbon pollution.” Obama will
put the Environmental Protection Agency in charge of drafting a
plan to set carbon emission limits on US power plants by June
2014, senior administration officials told reporters before the
speech. The EPA would also be in charge of finalizing plans for
carbon limits on new power plants..

“We already set limits for arsenic, mercury and lead, but we
let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they
want,”
one official told Reuters.

The White House is expected to issue its final verdict regarding
the Keystone pipeline in September or October, and lack of
discussion about it has raised speculation that the president
will approve its construction. While environmentalists have
expressed their approval of the president’s plans to address
carbon pollution on Tuesday, Keystone critics may be
disappointed to hear nothing about the pipeline.

The Keystone XL pipeline would transport oil sands bitumen from
Canada to the Gulf Coast, stretching through the entire United
States. Critics warn that constructing the pipeline would lead to
drilling in Canada’s oil sands, thereby releasing large
quantities of carbon dioxide that would further harm the
atmosphere. Former NASA researcher and climate scientist James
Hansen told the New York Times that the Keystone pipeline would
be “game over for the climate.”

There has been speculation that the president would sign off on
the project, despite the extensive opposition against it and his
plans for clean energy. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson allegedly
told
anonymous sources that the president would sign off on it in the
spring, but he has not publicly made a decision on it. Some
Republicans and businesses argue that the pipeline would create
jobs and help the economy, and a recent Pew Research survey found
that 66 percent of Americans who know about the pipeline support
its construction. 

But climate activists say it would make little sense for the
president to approve the pipeline, since it would counter his
plans for clean energy

“I do think that if they’re serious about carbon, and then
they let Keystone go, it’s pretty hard to figure out what’s going
on because the two are so in conflict,”
Sen. Sheldon
Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told Politico.

Some environmentalists remain hopeful that the president will
disapprove of the pipeline, despite his recent lack of discussion
on it.

“The president is a logical man, and hence it would seem so
odd to take two steps forward and then two back,”

anti-Keystone activist Bill McKibben told Politico. “And I’m
certain he understands that KXL is the environmental fight of our
time, the place where he’ll be finally judged.”

A senior administration official told Reuters that a decision on
Keystone has not been made, but the president’s lack of comment
on it may indicate that his decision may go against the will of
environmentalists.

This article originally appeared on: RT