After President Barack Obama’s director of the Environmental Protection Agency resigned this week, news reports came out documenting her fierce opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.
Lisa Jackson, according to some reports, was fiercely opposed to the pipeline, believing the risk of leaks threatened water quality and the increased oil production it would help enable would accelerate climate change.
Although the pipeline decision was not Jackson’s or the EPA’s to approve — the State Department alone has the authority to issue presidential permits for cross-border pipelines — Jackson was an active member of talks on Keystone. In June of 2011, the EPA said a State Department analysis of the project was “insufficient,” highlighting its concern over “potential environmental impacts.”
Read more here.
When Obama first announced the delay in the approval of the pipeline, supporters accused him of simply wanting to delay the pipeline’s rejection until after the 2012 election. That could still be the case, but this reporting suggests Jackson fought to kill the pipeline — and lost.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also on her way out of the Obama administration, is generally believed to be a supporter of the pipeline.
If recent reporting is right, official approval for the northern half of the pipeline could be imminent.
“If the president comes out for it, she would be expected to support it,” said (Jackson’s friend Jeff) Tittel. “Whether they told her or not, that’s how it works. She was the person who pushed the hardest for the moratorium on the pipeline and now she’s leaving.”
At the very least, what this reporting shows is that leaders in the environmental movement seem resigned to Obama approving the Keystone pipeline. Supporters of the pipeline probably aren’t sanguine. We’ll see what happens.