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Houston Regional Group - News
Maybe There Is Hope

Many of us have held the pessimistic view that bitumen from Canadian Athabasca oil sands will soon flow through a pipeline (the Keystone XL pipeline) into our area, and by doing so will provide a fuel that produces four times as much carbon dioxide as petroleum from most other sources. Monied interests crying "jobs" have pushed this, even though there will be only a few short-term jobs in Texas. Remarkably, some labor unions have bought into this flawed viewpoint.

The intense drought in the middle of our country last year, and the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast have brought the issue home and changed the views of many citizens.

To his credit, President Barack Obama mentioned climate change in his second inaugural address. He said ".We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms. ." Does this mean that he is about to make his rejection (on January 18, 2012) of the application for the pipeline permanent?

Of course not! But it does raise some hope that President Obama will do something to restrict the flow of Athabasca bitumen. At least we know that he does recognize the problem of climate change, and he no longer needs the support of monied interests to get reelected.

We must not be naive and think that we can relax, however. We must keep pressure on the President and Congress. After all, there is a great deal of money for lobbying by those who have a vested interest in promoting the XL pipeline and denial of climate change. We must continue to lobby by our letters and protest actions.

Keep hoping that we are about to see the climate (physical and political) change for the better.

Last updated:  11/20/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.