One of Colorado’s top Democratic senators believes activists jumped the shark when they tried turning opposition against the Keystone XL Pipeline into a mandate on climate change.
Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado criticized environmentalists and their campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline during a May 19 town hall, video of which was released Tuesday. He argued opposition to the project didn’t do much to convince people of the importance of fighting global warming.
“It did nothing to persuade people that didn’t agree with us that climate was something really important,” Bennet, said about the pipeline May 19 at a town hall meeting. He added that opposing the pipeline, which would shuttle more than 800,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, was a poor litmus test on climate change and environmental issues.
Anti-pipeline activists used Keystone to put a physical face on global warming because “people said, ‘We can’t see CO2 [carbon dioxide emissions], we have to make it something people can see,'” Bennet claims.
Former President Barack Obama rejected the project outright in 2014, arguing it was not consistent with the country’s fight against so-called man-made warming. President Donald Trump issued an executive memo earlier this year overturning his predecessor’s order.
Bennet said activists have scrutinized his environmental credentials for supporting the pipeline in 2014, despite the Democrat’s support for several Obama-era climate regulations. He went on to explain how his position on Keystone XL differed from the state’s so-called keep it in the ground movement.
“There are people who would say, ‘we should have no fracking. Period.’ And I think that’s a principled position,” he told the Boulder crowd. “But it’s not my position, because I’ve seen the effect of what $2.30 natural gas means to the generation of electricity in this country, and what it’s done to displace coal-fired power plants.”
Colorado has a long history of promulgating anti-fossil fuel sentiments. The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained emails in 2016, for instance, showing environmentalists were recruiting protesters willing to get arrested for demonstrating against hydraulic fracturing.
An environmentalist group calling itself “Break Free Colorado” sent emails to anti-fracking protesters and other demonstrators asking those “willing to risk arrest, nonviolent direct action” to attend seminars teaching them how to get arrested.
Instructors at the group’s training seminars taught anti-fracking protesters how to engage in non-violent civil unrest tactics that lead to arrests.
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