Bill McKibben and the Keystone Decision

For those of you following the progress (or glorious lack thereof) of the Keystone XL Pipeline, blogged about here last Wednesday after President Obama's statement, you may have felt the sweetness of victory tempered by the President's lukewarm reasoning for denying the application. Without explicitly mentioning the devastating environmental impacts of tar sands oil extraction, without mentioning the millions of industry dollars lining the pockets (and weighting the opinions) of Republican representatives pushing for the Keystone deal, without mentioning the vulnerable habitats that would have been affected by the positioning of the pipeline, the President's statement placed the blame squarely on timing. From a reading of the statement, with no background on the issue, a novice would chalk the application denial up to bad scheduling rather than bad practice.

"This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline," says Obama's statement, "but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people."

While happy with the end result, many environmentalists remain trepidatious, worrying that the real reasons thousands circled the White House in protest last November have been glossed over.

Meanwhile Bill McKibben, founder of Overbrook grantee 350.org and a central rallying voice behind the Keystone protesters, is not resting on his laurels. A great profile by writer Barbara Moran in yesterday's Boston Globe goes behind the scenes with McKibben, and a piece in the Huffington Post by McKibben himself from earlier this month portray a soft-spoken, inadvertent leader who has his facts straight. In the Huffington Post piece, McKibben expertly links oil industry subsidies, campaign finance and the Chamber of Commerce to the climate crisis.