Clip: Bill McKibben on Why the White House Wants to Approve Keystone

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Bill Moyers asked environmental activist Bill McKibben why the State Department concluded in a long-anticipated report delivered last week that the proposed 1,179-mile Keystone XL pipeline would basically have no impact on climate change. Like so many issues in politics today, McKibben says the answer basically comes down to money and power. “The American Petroleum Institute told the president two years ago, ‘you do what we say on Keystone or there’ll be political trouble,’” McKibben tells Moyers. “We’ll find out how scared he was.”

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  • Diogenes

    Where is the evidence that the API told Obama what to do ?

  • BigMike

    McKibben is just not credible on this issue. Even though I am on his side. He is even borderline dishonest. If the pipeline is not built, the oil will be shipped on rail. The government reports state this point. The oil will be used if the Keystone pipline is built or not, unfortunately. I wish he would use his energies to organize around an issue the will be effective. He makes the environmental movement look bad by using horrible arguments. I wish it were so simple as stopping a pipeline.

  • Anonymous

    The government reports state…
    Be very very skeptical of any statement in government or industry reports.

  • janeinak

    If the oil is all used as fast as possible, then remaining reserves
    become more valuable, it is to the oil companies best interest to have
    us continue to depend on oil. It is also to their best interest to have
    us believe that the oil will get to market ‘somehow’ whether keystone XL
    is built or not. It is to our best interest as residents of the planet
    to have the Tar Sands stay in the ground until such time, if ever, as
    they might be able to be used in an environmentally safe manner.
    And
    if they are so concerned about getting the oil from North Dakota to the
    gulf, they could build that pipeline anytime they want, because it does
    not cross the border, and does not need state department approval. Why
    don’t they just ship the North Dakota Natural Gas to Alberta and use it
    to refine the tar sands there? or generate electricity? They can think
    of something else.

  • Anonymous

    ed Schultz, who bills himself as “number one liberal talker”, has been on the xl pipeline bandwagon all week. I wrote on his facebook page: regarding the xl pipeline…ed, you need to abandon your nationalism. that is what prevents you from seeing this issue globally. the basis of environmentalism, which you do not seem to understand, is that all things are connected. everyone on the planet shares the same air and oceans. they don’t stop when you get to the border. global warming is a global problem, transcending borders. you seem to think it’s “us” against “them”, and that’s what drives your “energy independence…” meme. to be free from foreign oil. gov. Schweitzer is of the same mentality. you both see things in terms of what is good for the “team”, the tribe, for the state (north Dakota, or Montana) or nation, America. this view is so 20th century. we live in a global era now. globalism has it’s ugly side, like cheap labor, and shifting wealth around to avoid taxes, but it has it’s good side too, like communication and ability to organize people, international labor movements and international environmental organizations. environmentalists are on the same page whether from japan or Switzerland or Vermont because they realize we are all interconnected. we speak the same language. nationalism is just as bad as sexism, racism and agism, yet probably the last ism to be abandoned. you can’t be progressive and nationalistic at the same time. i know you want the best for your fellow north dakotans, to exploit that bakken shale, and be free of middle eastern oil and wars, even if it means endorsing the destruction of the Canadian boreal forest (which absorb co2 if not cut down), degredation of native lands, breaking treaties in the process, and refining it along the gulf coast spewing toxic carcinogens on the gulf residents, and shipping the gasoline and diesel to Europe and asia at twice the profit of selling it in America. you even thought about running for office. but the blinders of nationalism prevent you from seeing the big picture, and if there was ever a time to see the big picture it is now. the tar sands will alter the climate of the world for generations to come. a line is being drawn in the sand. once the genie is out of the bottle there is no putting it back. once the xl pipeline gets the okay there is no turning back. global warming will accelerate, melting icecaps faster and flooding land occupied by a billion people. if you are concerned with “safety” think of the safety of those billion people, but I guess they aren’t from north Dakota. this issue separates 20th century thought from 21st century thought. remember the slogan, “think globally, act locally”. it applies to this situation. leave the tar sands in the ground. stop promoting the deadly xl pipeline.

  • Anonymous

    shipping by rail would create a lot more jobs than pipeline. I would think it would also be more expensive by rail, and tar sands oil is expensive to process, so not allowing the pipeline would slow the destruction rate, buying more time to make it’s extraction unnecessary.

  • Anonymous

    exactly, oil lobbyists are probably writing those “reports”, like ALEC writes about half of all legislation for the gop to submit. the rail issue is a red herring and diversion tactic, with scary scenarios like the one in Canada, of exploding rail cars. maybe trans-Canada orchestrated the rail crash to rally support for the pipeline.

  • Anonymous

    you seem confused.

  • BigMike

    conspiracy theories are not necessary. The oil companies produce the oil for $60 a barrel and sell it for $100. It is very profitable. I wish MacKibben was right, but rail companies are investing billions. The point is moot. I wish the environmental movement would pick symbols that were relevant,

  • saucetin

    ‘extensive googling’

  • Diogenes

    Please feel free to elucidate me with something more than an inane snarky comment.

  • Diogenes

    Really, TransCanda orchestrated the several train crashes? Nothing like a wild conspiracy theory.

  • Anonymous

    This monstrosity must be stopped and the power of the oil companies to cripple environmental progress in this country and the world needs to be smashed. I have my doubts as to whether this can be accomplished without revolutionary change, but it must be done.

  • Avatar

    Thanks to big oil, this world will become the Universe’s largest lifeless museum for extraterrestrials to tour and study us so they don’t have to go down the same path as us.

  • Vilnis Schulz

    It’s going to take them a long time to figure out our history if they stumble on the Creation Museum

  • https://twitter.com/John_de_Vashon John Sage

    If you analyze Obama’s statement in the SOTU speech and previously, it should be clear to anyone that his prior statements were just a setup for the outcome he knew was going to come out of the State Department finding.

    Once again, Obama was safe in taking an ambiguous position because he knew that an ambiguous finding was being generated by a process that’s a complete fraud.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, it is Bill Clinton who wants this project.

  • tom allen

    The People are the Many, The others are the Few! NO PIPELINE, PERIOD!

  • tom allen

    Another Bush era. Gotta kill by the (not thousands) Hundreds of Millions of People, The Earth in retrospect.

  • Dawn Anewday

    I’d like to know what Louisiana is going to do with all the waste biproduct. Can we expect more petro pollution in the south because of all the proposed processing? How will domestic water supplies be protected? Who will pay to replace polluted water supplies when the pipeline leaks? How will the public be compensated? No compensation? How pathetically common. How long are we going to allow corporations to poison our water, our food, our air? How many birth defects are enough? How much disease is enough?