Local Climate Groups React to News White House Rejected Keystone XL
Burlington, VT— Today, the White House has made the decision to deny TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, marking the first time in history a world leader has turned down a major infrastructure project because of its impact on the climate.
“President Obama is the first world leader to reject a project because of its effect on the climate,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. “That gives him new stature as an environmental leader, and it eloquently confirms the five years and millions of hours of work that people of every kind put into this fight.”
Locally, organizations and groups, including 350Vermont, Rising Tide Vermont, VPIRG, and VNRC, cheered this social movement victory. “President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline should be a signal to political leaders to listen to the growing call from the climate justice movement to leave fossil fuels in the ground, “ said Kathy Blume of Vermontivate and 350Vermont.
“Today's decision is the result of a growing grassroots movement that is proving the power of organized people over corporations,” said Molly Stuart of Rising Tide Vermont. “We applaud the countless communities who have resisted this project, from the La’kota people in South Dakota, to the youth who marched on the white house, to the thousands of Vermonters who continue opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure.”
“We applaud President Obama for the courage and leadership he has demonstrated today. Our future depends on this kind of leadership, both nationally and in Vermont, where we can reduce our own dependence on fossil fuels by stopping new fracked gas pipeline infrastructure and finally putting a price on carbon pollution,” said Ben Walsh, VPIRG’s Climate and Energy Program Director.
“President Obama outlined several reasons for Keystone rejection, including its insignificant economic impact and that it would undercut our global leadership on climate.” said Maeve McBride, coordinator of 350Vermont, the local affiliate of 350.org. “In Vermont, we must reject the VT gas pipeline, because, it, too, is meaningless for the Vermont economy, and counters Vermont’s progress towards a fossil-free future. This national victory inspires us to keep demanding a stop to the fracked gas pipeline.”
There are unmistakable parallels between the Keystone XL pipeline and the VT Gas pipeline. In both projects, Canadian corporations - TransCanada and Gaz Metro (sole owner of Vermont Gas Systems ) - have threatened to take people’s land by eminent domain.This July, Vermont Gas hired the same contractor, Michel’s, that has been heavily criticized for flaws in their construction of the southern leg of the KXL pipeline . Both projects have been mired in controversy and delayed for years because of additional scrutiny and permitting, in response to intense public opposition.
“Having my land taken against my will for the construction of fossil fuel infrastructure is infuriating. Governor Shumlin should be ashamed to support a corporation that furthers global climate change and disregards the rights of Vermonters” said Claire Broughton of Monkton, VT.