Polluters are fighting hard to get Keystone approved. The oil and gas industry pumped $53.1 million into last year's congressional campaigns--87 percent of which went to Republican candidates. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raked in $608,000 from the industry for his 2014 campaign, and now he is putting Keystone XL at the heart of his big polluter agenda. But this isn't just a battle over industry influence. This is a choice about the kind of nation we want to live in. Do we want to live in a country where expert reviews don't matter and industry profits trump our families' health? Do we want to lock ourselves into a fuel that generates 17 percent more climate change pollution than crude oil and makes our children more vulnerable to extreme weather? Or do we want something better?
Starting Jan. 6, a new story will be written, and it revolves around a central question that some in the party's own rank-and-file are asking: Can the GOP transform itself from a party of obstruction to a party of governing? To date, we simply don't know whether Republican lawmakers will be able to make that transformation.
The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not a jobs program. It is not an economic development program. It brings risk to our farmers in the heartland and the health of communities across the country threatened by climate change. It is time to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline once and for all.