Keystone XL: Robert Redford Thanks Obama for Rejecting Pipeline; Clinton Won’t Testify

Jan 20, 2012 3:25pm

The Obama administration iced the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada earlier this week, but the issue is not going away.

Republicans have pledged to seek ways around the administration to make the pipeline happen and Canadian company TransCanada has said it will reapply for permits to build the pipeline, which has bipartisan support on Capitol Hill and even among some corners of the Obama administration, but drew loud protest from the environmental community.

Robert Redford released a video “thank you” to the White House today. It was distributed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, of which he is a board member.

“Big oil is used to having its own way, but not today, and we have President Obama to thank for standing up in spite of the so-called political risk,” said Redford, appearing in the video in a ski sweater in front of an audibly crackling fire.

“Big oil and their friends in Congress,” he says as a picture of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio flashes, “put President Obama to an election year test,” said Redford, who goes on to disagree with arguments from pipeline supporters that the pipeline from Canada will help create jobs and make the United States less dependent on foreign oil.

Read more about the Keystone pipeline issue and the Obama administration’s rejection of it.

Republican lawmakers gathering at a retreat in Baltimore pledged to find a way around the White House, suggesting a bill that would strip authority from the administration on the pipeline and give it instead to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We’re going to do everything we can to try to see this project initiated. And I’m going to be working, and the rest of our team … to look for every opportunity that we can to advance this idea,” Boehner told reporters in Baltimore.

Republicans are also said to be considering attaching the pipeline to a provision that would extend a payroll-tax cut and unemployment insurance.

Read more about House Republicans’ plans.     

A hearing on Capitol Hill next week will get a lot of attention, but it will not feature Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Republicans had requested her presence, but she will not testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“We are following our normal procedures and actually sending the official that actually knows something about this issue at great depth and has been leading our efforts, Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Kerri-Ann Jones, to the Congress to testify,” Clinton said at a news conference in Washington, D.C., today.

ABC’s Devin Dwyer, Kirit Radia and John Parkinson contributed to this report.

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