Obama’s New Special Adviser Is Outspoken Foe of Keystone XL and Tar Sands

December 10, 2013

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‘Oil extraction from tar sands is polluting, destructive, expensive, and energy intensive,’ John Podesta said in a speech in 2010.

By John H. Cushman Jr.

WASHINGTON—By asking John Podesta to come to the White House as a special counselor at a time of turmoil and tough choices, President Obama has created an unusually close tie to an outspoken critic of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Canadian tar sands it would carry.

Podesta is a Washington policy insider who was Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and whose Center for American Progress, or CAP, is an influential voice of liberalism. He has kept climate change high on his agenda for years and will continue to do so in the White House, reported The New York Times, which broke the news of his new assignment.

His arrival comes just as the decision on TransCanada’s proposal to build a controversial pipeline to deliver tar sands crude from Alberta across the midsection of the United States approaches a critical turning point: the completion of a final environmental impact statement by the State Department. That will be followed by a crucial 90-day period in which Obama must decide whether the pipeline is in the U.S. national interest.

See Also:

Canadian Gov’t Emissions Report Undermines Keystone Pipeline Pitch

Scientists: Key Parts of State Dept Keystone Review Are ‘Without Merit’

Keystone Report Skirts Climate Analysis Required Under Law, Lawyers Say

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