Former Vice President Al Gore is publicly calling for President Barack Obama to veto the Keystone XL pipeline project, saying the president should follow the example of British Columbia's rejection of a similar pipeline.
"I certainly hope that he will veto that now that the Canadians have publicly concluded that it is not safe to take a pipeline across British Columbia to ports on the Pacific," Gore told the Guardian
"I really can't imagine that our country would say: 'Oh well, take it right over parts of the Ogallala aquifer', our largest and most important source of groundwater in the U.S. It's really a losing proposition."
The oil industry, however, expects that Obama's wish for job creation will lead him to sign off on the $5.3 billion pipeline, which will bring tar-sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries, reports Barron's.
TransCanada, which has planned the pipeline, hopes to have it up and running by 2015. But the State Department will need to approve the project before Obama gets it, said Gore, since it crosses the Canadian border.
Lawsuits being filed -- such as one by the Sierra Club last week -- may delay the pipeline even more, said Michael McKenna, president of government-relations agency MWR Strategies.
Gore calls the project an "atrocity," and some experts have cast the Keystone XL pipeline as the most important decision of the Obama presidency. Gore, however, does not agree, saying that the president has an even larger environmental decision -- the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions -- looming.
"This whole project [Keystone XL] is an atrocity but it is even more important for him to regulate carbon dioxide emissions," Gore said, urging the president to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants.
Gore is in Istanbul to lead a three-day training session on climate change to some 600 activists. After losing the White House to George W. Bush in the 2000 election, Gore has turned his career to action on climate change. The Istanbul gathering will be the 22nd time Gore has presented his regularly updated slide show on climate change to a group of global activists.
Gore said he is encouraged by the rise of climate activism, and that "Mother Nature has joined the conversation and has a powerful voice."
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