Hillary Clinton put the White House “on notice” Thursday, warning President Obama that if he did not make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline soon she would announce her own opinion “soon.”
“I have been waiting for the administration to make a decision. I thought I owed them that,” Clinton said in response to a question on the pipeline at a town hall meeting in Concord, New Hampshire.
“I can’t wait too much longer. I am putting the White House on notice. I am going to tell you what I think soon,” she added facetiously.
As secretary of state, Clinton helped oversee the approval process of the pipeline, which would carry tar-sands oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. But she has refused to speak publicly about the controversial project since leaving government, saying it would not be appropriate given her former position.
Clinton has been asked about the pipeline on dozens of occasions on both sides of the northern border in the past two years and dodged every time. She wrote a 600-plus page book on her tenure as secretary of state and did not mention the pipeline once.
Environmentalists feel passionately the pipeline should be stopped, so her persistent silence on the divisive issue has bred disappointment on the left and heckles on the right, as Republicans accuse her of being afraid to pick a side.
Meanwhile, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her top rival for the Democratic nomination, regularly brings up his steadfast opposition to the pipeline when asked to elucidate differences between himself and Clinton.
It’s a position Clinton seems frustrated with. She joked Thursday that Keystone is “one of my favorite topics” and seemed to long for a day when she no longer has to field questions on the topic.
How soon Clinton speaks out on Keystone will likely depend on the opaque timing of the White House, but Clinton made it clear Thursday she thinks they could pick up the pace.