Hillary Clinton’s Pipeline Problem

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should remove herself from deliberations over a controversial pipeline proposal, a group of environmental and consumer advocates said Thursday. Clinton said recently that the pipeline from Canada to Texas is likely to be approved, despite the fact that a full analysis of its impacts has not been completed.

The groups said that Clinton’s remarks indicate she is “biased” in favor of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL expansion, as the full environmental impact statement isn’t expected to be finalized until next year. A numbers of senators have also criticized Clinton’s statements, asking her not to “pre-judge” a massive pipeline project that would bring “dirty oil” to the US from Canada’s tar sands.

“As the State Department’s review is ongoing, it is inappropriate for you to make statements about what final decision you are ‘inclined’ to make,” the enviro groups, including Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Greenpeace, wrote to Clinton. “The decision about whether or not to permit this pipeline is a key environmental decision for this administration, yet your recent comments make it clear that you are biased.”

The proposed 1,661-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Nederland, Texas has drawn criticism from senators and a number of environmental and citizens’ rights groups. Green groups have expressed concern about drawing more oil from Canada’s tar sands, which has a substantially higher carbon impact than conventional oil. There are also concerns about the pathway of the XL line, which would cross environmentally sensitive areas of the Great Plains. Citizens groups are also unhappy about the prospect of an expansion, citing recent accidents involving pipelines and a lack of consultation with the communities that the new pipeline would cross.

The groups say that Clinton’s remarks expose the State Department to potential lawsuits (probably from the groups themselves), since they indicate that approval of the pipeline is a foregone conclusion and a more extensive review of the environmental implications may not be considered in the decision-making process. “Her comments demonstrate disregard for her agency’s legal responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act and suggest that she cannot serve as an objective arbiter of this process,” said Marcie Keever, legal director for Friends of the Earth.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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