Hillary Comes Out Against Keystone XL Amid Papal Visit

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is using the cover of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. to finally announce she opposes the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

For months, Clinton has been hounded by environmentalists for refusing to state her position on the 1,800-mile pipeline that would transport 180,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. It seems the pressure has worked, as the former Secretary of State has finally broken her silence on the issue.

For seven years now, the Obama administration has not made a ruling on Keystone, continually kicking the can down the road despite the widespread support the project got from traditional liberal allies, like unions.

Then-Secretary of State Clinton made no move to approve the pipeline, and refused to state her position on the project even after she left office — until now.

“Make no mistake: today is clear proof that social movements move politics,” May Boeve, executive director of the group said in a press release, taking some credit for pushing Hillary to come out against Keystone XL. “Thanks to thousands of dedicated activists around the country who spent years putting their bodies on the line to protect our climate, we’ve taken a top-tier presidential candidate’s ‘inclination to approve’ Keystone XL, and turned it into yet another call for rejection,” Boeve added.

But Clinton, who is seeing Democratic primary challengers gain in the polls, has made great efforts to show just how far left she is compared to other candidates.

The Clinton campaign even released its own headline-grabbing plan to produce half a billion solar panels by the end of Hillary’s first term. Conservative commenters have bashed Clinton for announcing her opposition to the pipeline while the news cycle is flooded with stories about Pope Francis’ first U.S. visit.

“I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone XL pipeline as what I believe it is: A distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change, and, unfortunately from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward and deal with other issues,” Clinton told people gathered at a campaign event in Iowa on Wednesday.

“Therefore, I oppose it. I oppose it because I don’t think it’s in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change,” Clinton said.

Clinton’s contention that approving Keystone would not be “in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change” echoes the position made by environmentalists and her most formidable primary opponent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sanders has sharply criticized Hillary for claiming she’s worried about global warming while not taking a position on Keystone XL — which many environmentalists use as the litmus test for liberal politicians.

Clinton’s newfound position on Keystone should come as no surprise since she’s been courting San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer who made his name in politics opposing the pipeline. Steyer has given tens of millions of dollars to Democratic candidates in the past couple election cycles, many of whom oppose Keystone.

In May, Steyer hosted a fundraiser for Clinton at his San Francisco home. Environmentalists actually protested outside the event, trying to get Clinton to come out against the pipeline.

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