The biggest decision of President Obama’s two-term presidency looms ahead, and environmentalists are increasingly concerned that Obama will cave to fossil fuel interests and approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Now we can add former vice president Al Gore to the growing chorus of enviros who are calling on Obama to veto the tar sands pipeline. In an interview with The Guardian last week, Gore described the proposed pipeline “an atrocity,” and he called on the president to back up the environmental rhetoric from his inauguration speech with actions.

climate change, Obama, Keystone XL, tar sands, President Obama

Environmentalists were heartened in January, when President Obama made several mentions of his commitment to the environment in his inauguration address. “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” he said, emphasizing the need to transition to renewable energy. But since then, the administration has remained tight-lipped on whether it will approve the Kestone XL pipeline, which would transport millions of barrels of tar sands oil across the American heartland. Tar sands oil is the dirtiest fuel source on the planet, and there are major concerns about the potential for major oil spills.

“I certainly hope that he will veto that now that the Canadians have publicly concluded that it is not safe to take a pipeline across British Columbia to ports on the Pacific,” Gore told the Guardian. “I really can’t imagine that our country would say: ‘Oh well. Take it right over parts of the Ogallala aquifer’, our largest and most important source of ground water in the US. It’s really a losing proposition.”

Gore has also been making the case for President Obama to beef up his climate team and to regulate carbon emissions, urging the president to place new restrictions on power plants. “This whole project [Keystone XL] is an atrocity but it is even more important for him to regulate carbon dioxide emissions,” he said.

Via The Guardian

Second photo by Tar Sands Action