President Obama may face a considerable amount of opposition from supporters if he moves forward in green lighting a pipeline that would run from Alberta, Canada, to Texas. Obama’s approval ratings have recently been on the decline, and with his 2012 reelection campaign coming up, it seems strange that the president would even consider doing something so environmentally controversial.
Groups such as the Chamber of Commerce support the pipeline because it would create a lot of jobs, thus stimulating the economy. According to TransCanada, a minimum of 20,000 jobs would be created through the building of the pipeline. These are jobs you can’t just bring out from behind your garage door. And there are a number of unions that are currently advocating the project such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the International Union of Operating Engineers.
However, you would be hard-pressed to find an environmentalist who supports the pipeline project. The environmental concerns involve greenhouse gas emissions, damage to Alberta’s forests, the possibility of oil spills, and more.
Tiernan Sittenfeld is an important official in the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). According to Sittenfeld, the pipeline issue is a pivotal concern in the upcoming presidential election.
“This is not just about what LCV, which spent nearly $1 million to help elect Obama in 2008, or any other group that engages in electoral politics do in the upcoming election,” explained Sittenfeld. “It’s about people out there who care deeply about the environment, how much they volunteer, how many doors they knock on, how much money they contribute directly. We have LCV supporters who maxed out to the Obama campaign in 2008 who have told us they are not going to give this time around if the president approves this pipeline.”
Environmentalist Bill McKennan agrees with Sittenfeld and was among Friday’s crowd of pipe protestors. He declared, “I suppose you could look at our circle around the president as a kind of … symbolic house arrest.” McKennan continued, “We are very hopeful, indeed confident, that the president will do the right thing here.”
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