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Center for Biological Diversity:
No Keystone XL 
The Wall Street Journal, May 20, 2014

Green Groups Pressure Hillary Clinton on Keystone XL
By Peter Nicholas

A collection of 30 environmental groups is preparing to send Hillary Clinton a letter calling on her to come out against the Keystone XL pipeline project, an illustration of the competing political pressures she faces even before she has even announced whether she will run for president.

A draft of the letter obtained by The Wall Street Journal reads: “Secretary Clinton, will you stand with us against Keystone XL?

“Given your longstanding advocacy for the environment and the importance of battling the climate crisis, your involvement would lend an important voice against this dangerous pipeline and in favor of energy sources that don’t threaten future generations of Americans.”

The draft, dated May 21, shows that signatories include the Center for Biological DiversityGreenpeace andFriends of the Earth, as well as many small groups. Some well-known groups that aren’t signatories on the draft include the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, League of Conservation Voters and Natural Resources Defense Council, or NDRC.

The Sierra Club, which has been one of the most active groups fighting the pipeline, won’t be signing the letter, according to its executive director, Michael Brune, who declined to say why.

A spokesman for the NDRC said the letter was circulated to NRDC in late April, but the group at the time was focused on the “decision-making processes” at the State Department and didn’t give attention to the letter. Also, Mrs. Clinton is now a “private citizen” and thus not empowered to make a decision with respect to Keystone, the NRDC spokesman said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether any of the other groups would sign on.

Mrs. Clinton’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

TransCanada’s proposed pipeline has become one of the most divisive environmental issues the Obama administration has confronted. Conservative Democrats in tough reelection bids in November, including Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, have come out in favor of the project, predicting that it would boost jobs and economic growth.

Deep-pocked Democratic donors and liberal activists want to see the Obama administration scuttle Keystone, warning that it would accelerate the pace of global climate change.

The Obama administration has shown itself in no hurry to make a decision.TransCanadaTRP.T +1.02% first proposed the pipeline in 2008, before Mr. Obama took office.  The company wants to send oil from oil sands in Canada to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

A State Department environmental review released in February concluded the pipeline wouldn’t likely alter the amount of oil ultimately pulled from Canadian oil sands, a finding that buoyed the pipeline’s backers.

That review had seemed to set the stage for a final up-or-down ruling by the Obama administration this spring. But last month, the administration announced it was extending the review, citing pending litigation in Nebraska over the pipeline route through that state.

It now appears the Keystone application will be delayed at least through the midterm elections in November – a timetable that could inject the issue into the 2016 presidential race.

The State Department has a major say in the permit review because the pipeline crosses an international border.  In 2010, when she was secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton said the administration was “inclined” to approve the pipeline.

She has since been more circumspect. When asked about the pipeline project in an appearance in Canada two months ago, she did not comment.

As the letter shows, environmentalists want to draw her out perhaps enlist a powerful new ally in the bid to defeat Keystone.

“We’re at a critical moment. Please join us,” the letter concludes.

Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to give the keynote address in September at an annual clean-energy conference hosted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), in Las Vegas. Mr. Reid opposes the pipeline.

– Amy Harder contributed to this article.

Copyright ©2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. 

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton