Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez is finally making good on his long-standing pledge to hold a hearing on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
The committee will hear Thursday from pipeline opponents and boosters at a hearing on the project and the State Department’s ongoing review to determine whether approving it would be in the “national interest.”
It arrives more than a year after Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who opposes the pipeline, first said he planned to put the project under the committee’s microscope at some point.
Witnesses will be evenly split on Keystone. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune and former NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who has been appearing before Congress to discuss global warming since the 1980s, will testify against the project.
Several years ago Hansen, who is affiliated with the Columbia University’s Earth Institute, said that fully exploiting Alberta’s vast oil sands resources would be “game over” for the climate.
The phrase has become a rallying cry for activists opposing TransCanada’s proposed pipeline to bring crude oil from Alberta across the border to Gulf Coast refineries.
Karen Harbert, who is president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy and a former Energy Department official under President George W. Bush, will make the pro-Keystone case.
So will retired Gen. James Jones, who was President Obama’s national security adviser.
He’s one of several former Obama administration officials who favor the project, although a number of ex-aides, including former climate czar Carol Browner, are battling Keystone too.
The hearing does not include any Obama administration witnesses.
What We're Following See More »
“A bill headed for President Barack Obama this week includes a provision that would ban U.S. imports of fish caught by slaves in Southeast Asia, gold mined by children in Africa and garments sewn by abused women in Bangladesh, closing a loophole in an 85-year-old tariff law.” The Senate approved the bill, which would also ban Internet taxes and overhaul trade laws, by a vote of 75-20. It now goes to President Obama.
Bernie Sanders has closed to within seven points of Hillary Clinton in a new Morning Consult survey. Clinton leads 46%-39%. Consistent with the New Hampshire voting results, Clinton does best with retirees, while Sanders leads by 20 percentage points among those under 30. On the Republican side, Donald Trump is far ahead with 44% support. Trailing by a huge margin are Ted Cruz (17%), Ben Carson (10%) and Marco Rubio (10%).
President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”
It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”
It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.