Joe Biden: I oppose Keystone pipeline, but I'm 'in the minority'

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Politics Digest,Environment,Energy Department

Vice President Joe Biden reportedly told and activist with the Sierra Club that he personally opposes the $7 billion US-Canada pipeline project, but also indicated that others in the White House do not share his view.

In a blog post yesterday at the Sierra Club’s website, activist Elaine Cooper wrote about encountering the vice president at a South Carolina event hosted by Democratic Rep. James Clyburn:

I went to send a message, but what I got was much more than I bargained for.  After the demonstration, I attended Representative Clyburn’s fish fry, and it was there that I was able to speak with the vice president.  I asked him about the administration’s commitment to making progress on climate and whether the president would reject the pipeline.  He looked at the Sierra Club hat on my head, and he said “yes, I do – I share your views – but I am in the minority,” and he smiled.

The post doesn’t say exactly what Biden meant by “in the minority” but a safe bet was “in this administration.” With Joe Biden you can never really be sure, but he does have a habit of wandering off the administration’s script.

The White House has long resisted making a decision on the project and has been studiously vague on the subject. It did say earlier this year that decision would be rendered by June. Since then, the chatter is that the White House is leaning towards approving the project despite fierce opposition from environmental groups like, well, the Sierra Club. But the White House is also facing pressure from Republicans, Big Business as well as the Canadian government and some in organized labor who favor the pipeline.

The broadest hint that the administration would approve it came in a State Department report earlier this year which indicated the potential environmental hazards are minimal and the project would create 42,100 jobs, albeit temporary ones. The president also reportedly told some GOP congressman back in March he was going to approve the project.

Hat Tip: Buzzfeed.


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