Hillary Clinton Finally Comes Out Against the Keystone XL Pipeline

The former Secretary of State said the pipeline is a "distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change."

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Sep 22 2015, 10:18pm

Photo via Flickr user Roger H. Goun

Read: Photos of the People in the Path of the Keystone XL Pipeline

Last week, Secretary of State-cum-presidential candidate-cum-Gmail enthusiast Hillary Clinton announced that she would weigh in "soon" on the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline, and whether or not the Obama Administration should move to block it.

On Tuesday, Clinton made good on that, coming definitively against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline pipeline during an Iowa campaign event, after an audience member questioned the Democratic presidential candidate about her stance.

"I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone XL pipeline as what I believe it is—a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change, and, unfortunately from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward and deal with other issues," Clinton said, according to NBC News. "I oppose it."

Until now Clinton had been conspicuously silent about the transnational oil pipeline, which would transport crude oil from the Canadian tar sands through the US to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The pipeline has become a touchstone issue for environmentalists, who argue that it could have disastrous effects on the environment and global climate change.The Obama administration has long delayed making a decision about whether to approve the project.

Pipeline supporters—like Jeb Bush, who was quick to throw shade on Clinton's announcement—claim the project will boost the US economy and spur job creation.

On the flipside, two of Clinton's Democratic primary opponents, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, were quick to point out that they'd already taken firm stances against Keystone XL.

"Secretary Clinton has followed—not forged—public opinion," O'Malley said in a statement Tuesday. "Leadership is about stating where you stand on critical issues, regardless of how they poll or focus group."

Sanders was more subtle: "I welcome her opposition to the pipeline," he said in his own statement. "Clearly it would be absurd to encourage the extraction and transportation of some of the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet."

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