Earlier this week, President Obama said in a television interview with Nebraska's KETV that he will be the one making the decision on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.
Politico reports that while the State Department was originally expected to make the decision (on a pipeline that will be crossing an international border), they will instead be delivering recommendations to the president.
Obama told KETV's Rob McCartney, "We need to encourage domestic oil and natural gas production. We need to make sure that we have energy security and aren't just relying on Middle East sources. But there's a way of doing that and still making sure that the health and safety of the American people and folks in Nebraska are protected, and that's how I'll be measuring these recommendations when they come to me."
Reuters reported that Obama specifically addressed environmental concerns in his statements and assured the public they will factor into his decision. He said, "I think folks in Nebraska, like all across the country, aren't going to say to themselves, 'we'll take a few thousand jobs' if it means that our kids are potentially drinking water that would damage their health or if ... rich land that is so important to agriculture in Nebraska ends up being adversely affected."
McKibben wrote that it is "very good to see the President taking full ownership of this decision and indicating that the environment will be the top priority going forward."
He added, "Of course, it's not just people in Nebraska that are upset about this project. People from all 50 states were arrested in Washington this August protesting the pipeline and they will be coming back to the White House this Sunday because this pipeline is also a conduit for climate change."
Tar Sands Action is known for its August sit-in in front of the White House that resulted in the arrest of over 1,200 Americans. On November 6, members of the Tar Sands Action group and other concerned citizens plan to return to Washington, D.C. to circle the White House in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline.
To read a full transcript of Obama's recent comments on the Keystone Pipeline, click here.
Click through the slideshow below to view prominent individuals who have spoken out against the pipeline: