TransCanada bets on fossil-friendly Republican POTUS for final KXL dice roll

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TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, is banking on a Republican president following President Obama, announcing Monday that it wants the Obama administration to suspend its permit request for the pipeline until after the next election. Delaying the approval in the hope of a more fossil-friendly President is a desperate play for the destructive project – which would connect the Alberta tar sands to overseas oil markets via ports in Texas – and the company’s move has been hailed as “one of the great victories for this movement in decades” by 350.org’s Bill McKibben. Construction of the controversial pipeline became less and less likely this year following the Obama administration’s veto of a bill that demanded the president approve the project, and after oil prices plummeted, undercutting one of the many dubious economic claims for pushing the project thorough. In Canada, projects connected to the tar sands lost political momentum first when Alberta voted out their provincial conservative government after 44 years of rule, and again when Canada elected Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister to replace climate laggard Stephen Harper. Monday’s announcement signals that people power can trump special interests as the world continues to transition away from dirty energy and towards renewable solutions.

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Key Points

  • Transcanada’s retreat on the Keystone XL pipeline is a signal they are running out of politicians to shop its dirty energy projects to. After a presidential veto in Washington, the ousting of Alberta’s Premier, and Stephen Harper being replaced as Prime Minster of Canada, it’s clear that TransCanada is desperate and banking that another fossil sympathizer will grab power in coming years. Short of that happening, the defeat of the Keystone pipeline, could be the biggest “victory” for the movement in decades.
  • Taking action to avert the worst consequences of climate change means rejecting extreme energy projects and embracing renewable solutions. If the world is contain climate change to safe levels it will need more victories in stopping tar sands, liquified natural gas, fracking, Arctic drilling and deforestation projects that harm the masses for the benefit of the few. Forcing an energy giant like TransCanada to take a desperate action like suspending the Keystone permit process, while making an example of Alberta’s former Premier and Prime Minister shows that people power can be a strong weapon in accelerating the transition to renewable energy.

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  • “Pause or no pause, we now know more than enough to do the right thing — reject the pipeline because it would worsen climate change. Altering its route through Nebraska isn’t going to change that. Keystone XL isn’t in the national interest and the president should reject it.” – Director of the Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Anthony Swift

  • “Clearly TransCanada has lost and they recognize that. It’s one of the great victories for this movement in decades. In defeat, TransCanada is asking for extra time from the referees, and clearly hoping they’ll get a new head official after the election. It’s time for the current umpire, President Obama, to reject this project once and for all, and go to Paris as the first world leader to stop a major project because of its effect on the climate. No matter what route TransCanada comes back with, the ultimate problem all along with Keystone XL has been that it’s a climate disaster — that it fails the President’s own climate test. It will be a sign of his solidarity with this remarkable movement when he comes right out and says that.” – 350.org founder, Bill McKibben

  • “TransCanada is losing and everyone – including them – knows it. When you’re losing in the final seconds you commit a bunch of fouls and call all your timeouts. That’s exactly what TransCanada is doing here. President Obama should recognize desperation when he sees it and reject Keystone XL. Blow the whistle today and end this game.” – Executive Director of Oil Change International, Stephen Kretzmann

  • “Regardless of the route, we have known all along that Keystone XL imperils communities and fails the climate test that President Obama put forward. The President should reject TransCanada’s desperate request for a suspension of the application, and reject this dirty pipeline at the same time.” – Campaigns Director of Oil Change International, David Turnbull

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