The fight against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is starting to feel more like a bad horror movie everyday. Just when you think our heroes have struck a fateful blow, out comes a hand from the soil. "The zombie lives!"
The president makes a potentially interesting speech on Thursday in Cushing, Oklahoma. It comes amidst a completely unprecedented March heat wave -- 2,000 records fell last week as cities like Chicago broke records dating back to the 19th century.
As Congressional Republicans and Big Oil allies allies in Washington try to resuscitate the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, people on the front lines have opened a new campaign to stop the massive $7 billion project.
In order to win on clean energy, candidates can't just name check the issue. They have to lead on it. They have to offer a vision for America's clean energy future, and they have to do it before their opponents frame the issue for them.
President Obama made the right call last week when he decided to reject the tar sands pipeline. The State Department, in its Congressional Report debunked the myth that this disastrous project would benefit the US.
"The arguments on both sides of the debate have been pretty badly exaggerated. Opponents of the pipeline talk about how it's game over for climate change.... The proponents of the pipeline talk about it as if it would allow the United States to become somehow free of Middle Eastern oil.
Both sides are hyping the presidential decision as pivotal, with Bill McKibben hailing it as "a brave decision" and Jack Gerard characterizing it as "a clear abdication of presidential leadership." Let's try to deconstruct the hype to assess what the decision really means.
When Congress forced the Obama administration to stop dithering on its decision to support the Keystone XL Pipeline, it revealed a White House's determined to cleave to ideology in the face of all common sense.
Let's face it: Big Oil is used to getting its way. But not today... and we have President Obama to thank for standing up to them in spite of the political risk. This was a prime-time fight. The oil giants made sure of that.
President Obama's punt on Keystone XL needs to be called out for what it is: an act of political cowardice. This deeply cynical political ploy was designed to placate both his environmental base and the oil lobby.
Like the recent decision by the Obama administration to delay the Keystone XL pipeline, the Delaware River Basin Commission vote was hardly an indictment of extreme carbon-based extraction that poisons water.
For someone like Obama who is fully aware of both the climate crisis and peak oil, it's hard to justify the XL Pipeline. But that means he has to name it... this global warming thing... and I'm not sure he has the courage.