President’s Keystone Veto Paves the Way for Accelerated Climate Leadership in our Local Communities

President Obama’s veto of the fast-tracking of the Keystone XL pipeline will benefit all Americans by protecting our right to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities in which to live. By shifting to cleaner fuels – not dirtier ones that contribute to climate change – we will help protect our children and future generations from exposure to increased pollution, train explosions (like those in West Virginia, Virginia, Alabama), oil spills into waterways and lands along the pipeline’s path, and the threat of worsening climate impacts like floods, droughts, and super-storms.

This decision paves the path for accelerated climate leadership in a fight that’s far from over. Pledging to battle in favor of the pipeline, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner also happen to be in the top five recipients of political donations from companies with oil and gas interests. Now is the time for strong leadership, perhaps especially from Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and rural and indigenous communities along the pipeline route. By engaging constituents in open dialogue about the costs of the pipeline as compared to the benefits of alternative solutions like solar and wind energy, local leaders and policy makers can fulfull their responsibility as caretakers of common values like security, safety, independence, and choice. After all, “the Canadians don’t want a tar sands pipeline cutting across British Columbia and putting their ranches, farms, rivers and lands at risk. Why should we?”

Obama: Keystone pipeline bill ‘has earned my veto’

Gregory Korte @gregorykorte | USA TODAY | February 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline, making good on a threat to reject a proposal embraced by Republicans as a jobs measure but opposed by environmentalists as contributing to climate change.

“The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously,” Obama said in his veto message to the Senate. “But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”

It was only the third veto of his presidency, but likely to be the first in a series of vetoes as he parries a Republican-controlled Congress in the last two years of his presidency. The White House has already issued 13 formal veto threats so far this year — the most ever at this point in a new Congress since President Reagan first started issuing written veto threats in 1985.

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