Obama should not cave on Keystone XL pipeline without winning some key concessions

Updated
US President Barack Obama smiles before boarding Marine One helicopter from a field overlooking the iconic golden gate bridge in San Francisco, California,...
US President Barack Obama smiles before boarding Marine One helicopter from a field overlooking the iconic golden gate bridge in San Francisco, California,...
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

After taking a hard “act before it’s too late” stand on climate change during his State of The Union address, it looks like President Obama is changing his tune.

The president has been under enormous pressure from both parties in Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Proponents argue that the pipeline could lower fuel prices and create jobs while critics point to the potential devastating environmental impact. Approval would only increase our nation’s massive carbon footprint, and do nothing to curb our already dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.

President Obama knows all this, but there are signs he could cave into approving the pipeline. He told a group of high-dollar donors in San Francisco Wednesday night “the politics are tough.”

“You may be concerned about the temperature of the planet, but it’s probably not rising to your No. 1 concern,” Obama said. “And if people think, well, that’s shortsighted, that’s what happens when you’re struggling to get by.”

It’s funny how much the president’s rhetoric can change in a few short months.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Obama said at his second inaugural.

“I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it,” Obama said just eight days after his re-election.

There is no way the Keystone XL pipeline will help future generations of Americans, but if President Obama is going to cave on this, he should win some key concessions from Republicans.

First, the massive tax breaks and loopholes for oil companies should automatically end.

Second, there should be an emergency spill response team located every 20 miles along the 480 mile long pipeline staffed with 30 people. With 24 stations along the route, that’s a permanent 720 jobs right there.

And finally, all profit from this pipeline should benefit “future generations” by investing in new energy technology.

The fact is future generations of Americans aren’t going to have oil, and if we don’t start taking drastic measures right now to invest in new energy technology, they’re not going to have a planet either.

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Obama should not cave on Keystone XL pipeline without winning some key concessions

Updated