Green Groups Threaten Low Election Turnout If Keystone Approved

Environmental activists inflate a long balloon to mock a pipeline during a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 3, 2014 to protest against the Keystone pipeline project. The US State Department last week released a long-awaited review of a controversial pipeline project to bring oil from Canada to Texas, suggesting it would have little impact on climate change or the environment. The project has pitched environmental groups against the oil industry, which has argued that it will bring much-needed jobs to the United States and help fulfill the US goal of energy self-sufficiency. 
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Clare Foran
Feb. 4, 2014, 2:09 a.m.

En­vir­on­ment­al ad­voc­ates have signaled that ap­prov­al of the Key­stone XL oil sands pipeline could lead to lower voter turnout in the midterm elec­tions, The Hill re­ports.

The pres­id­ent doesn’t have to worry about be­ing reelec­ted now that he’s in his second term, but Sen­ate con­trol hangs in the bal­ance as a num­ber of Demo­crats from the up­per-cham­ber face dif­fi­cult races. 

“It is very likely that there will be neg­at­ive con­sequences for Demo­crats if Key­stone were ap­proved,” Kate Col­arulli, the as­so­ci­ate dir­ect­or for the Si­erra Club’s Bey­ond Oil cam­paign, told The Hill. “This is a tre­mend­ous op­por­tun­ity to pro­tect the cli­mate and build the Demo­crat­ic base if Obama re­jects Key­stone XL.”

Jam­ie Henn, a spokes­man for the en­vir­on­ment­al or­gan­iz­a­tion, sim­il­arly warned that voters are likely to sour on Demo­crat­ic pro­spects in the midterms if Obama green lights the pro­ject.

“A Key­stone XL ap­prov­al will turn a lot of people off from the pro­cess, and they will get in­volved in ac­tion that could be dis­rupt­ive,” Henn said.

The fight over wheth­er to ap­prove the pipeline, which would ship crude oil from Al­berta, Canada, to Gulf Coast re­finer­ies, in­tens­i­fied last week with the re­lease of a re­port by the State De­part­ment that con­cluded that if the pro­ject were to be ap­proved it likely would not ac­cel­er­ate Ca­na­dian oil sands de­vel­op­ment.

Pres­id­ent Obama has said he will not al­low the pipeline to be built if it sig­ni­fic­antly adds to at­mo­spher­ic levels of car­bon di­ox­ide.


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