Environmental, Landowner Groups Applaud President Obama’s Keystone XL Veto

Stop Dirty Tar Sands, February 24, 2015

Groups celebrate the veto of this misguided legislation, call for an outright rejection of Keystone XL

This afternoon, shortly after it hit his desk, President Obama vetoed misguided legislation that would have forced approval of the controversial proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Keystone XL opponents applauded the president’s swift and decisive move to protect his authority to make a decision on the pipeline, and expressed confidence that he will reject the pipeline outright since it is clearly not in the national interest.

Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club: “President Obama said he’d veto this attack on his executive authority, and he kept his word. That’s what he said he’d do from the start, but Republicans in Congress continued to waste everyone’s time with a bill destined to go nowhere, just to satisfy the agenda of their big oil allies. President Obama has also made it clear he will reject the tar sands pipeline if it contributes significantly to the climate crisis. The president has all the evidence he needs to reject Keystone XL now, and we are confident that he will.”

Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council: “The misguided bill to approve Keystone XL, pushed by the fossil fuel industry, has met its just and expected doom. The president got it exactly right by vetoing it. Congress should stop wasting any more time pushing dirty energy projects that would worsen climate change and threaten our air, water and land. Instead, lawmakers should work to promote renewable wind and solar power, and reduce waste through energy efficiency measures that will save consumers money, improve the economy and combat dangerous climate change. And the president should move quickly to reject the proposed tar sands pipeline once and for all. It is simply not in the national interest.”

Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska: “President Obama just stood up with farmers, ranchers and Tribal Nations to protect our land and water. The President’s veto comes at a time when Republicans will do anything Big Oil asks, even if it means putting our families at-risk of water pollution. We call upon the President to use that same courage and leadership by rejecting the KXL permit once and for all.”

350.org Executive Director May Boeve: “This veto is conclusive proof that activism works. After four years of rallies, marches, sit-ins, and civil disobedience, we’re thrilled to see President Obama take an important first step by vetoing this love letter to Big Oil. As the President himself has argued, Keystone XL would worsen climate change, threaten the safety of farmers and landowners in America’s heartland, and create essentially no long-term jobs—all so a Canadian oil company gets to ship dirty tar sands to the rest of the world. Now, it’s time for the President to show he’s serious about his climate legacy by moving on to step two: rejecting this pipeline once and for all.”

League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski: “We’re thrilled that President Obama has taken the very important step of vetoing the bill to approve the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.  This veto, along with the president’s increasing public skepticism about Keystone XL, and  his incredible leadership on a wide range of environmental issues, including climate change, renewable energy, clean water, national monuments, and the Arctic Refuge, makes us more confident than ever that president will reject the permit itself once and for all.  According to LCV’s recent poll, the American people overwhelmingly believe that if the president decides to reject the permit for Keystone XL, Congress should respect his decision and move on to other pressing issues.  As the president put it so well in his State of the Union address, ‘We must set our sights higher than a single pipeline.’  We couldn’t agree more and hope the Republican leadership will come to its senses and get serious about a clean energy future.”

Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International: “The President’s veto of the KXL tar sands pipeline bill was fully expected but is very much appreciated. Fossil fuel funded politicians in Congress should take note – when the President of the United States says he is going to do something, he follows through.  Because the President has also been clear that if the pipeline caused a significant increase in carbon emissions, it would not be found in the national interest, we look forward to his final rejection of this dirty and dangerous pipeline.”

Valerie Love with the Center for Biological Diversity: “The president did the right thing in vetoing this bill, but what we really need is an outright rejection. Millions of Americans have voiced their opposition to the pipeline, and are counting on the president to do what’s best for people, wildlife and the climate.”

Erich Pica, President at Friends of the Earth: “The veto sends a strong message to Congress that the government should represent the interests of the American people instead of Big Oil.”

Rainforest Action Network Climate Program Director Amanda Starbuck: “We’re glad the president vetoed this cynical, politically-motivated stunt. However, a veto on its own is not enough. This movement has fought for years to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and we will accept nothing less than a final rejection. Keystone XL miserably fails the climate test, and if President Obama wants to be remembered as a leader on climate, his only option is rejection.”

Kendall Mackey, Tar Sands Campaign Coordinator at Energy Action Coalition: “President Obama’s veto is a huge step forward for the millennial generation that has been calling on him to stand up to Big Oil and move us beyond this dirty and dangerous energy. Now President Obama must outright reject Keystone XL to secure his legacy with the young voters who elected him to office.”

Elijah Zarlin, Senior Campaign Manager at CREDO: “With weather around the U.S. in total upheaval, it is especially shameful how far Boehner, McConnell and the Republicans are willing to go to pay back Big Oil and the Koch’s. President Obama was right to veto the Republican end run around the State Department process, but now he has to reject the pipeline outright.”

Anna Galland, Executive Director of MoveOn.org Civic Action: “President Obama’s veto of legislation that would approve the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline is a win for grassroots activists and the American public, and echoes the voices of MoveOn members who have said loudly and clearly that they expect elected officials to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and stop this carbon bomb. Thousands of MoveOn members have stood with our friends in the climate movement against this pipeline, and we’ll continue until this dangerous proposal is stopped once and for all. We call on President Obama to finish the job and fully reject Keystone XL. This Keystone veto demonstrates President Obama’s commitment to using the powers of his office to stop dangerous ideas from becoming law. As it’s possible that the president will need to continue using his veto pen to protect women’s rights, affordable health care, Wall Street reforms, and diplomacy, we commend him for standing strong when his veto is needed the most.”

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