Rep. Waxman: Keystone pipeline remarks were ‘misinterpreted’

Jan 25, 2013 by

By Ben Geman – 01/25/13 04:12 PM ET

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is “clarifying” comments he made Thursday that appeared to downplay the significance of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline in battles over climate change.

Waxman, a senior Democrat and key ally of green groups, opposes the proposed pipeline but on Thursday called it a “small issue compared to the overall objective” of fighting global warming.

“While I was quoted accurately, what I meant to say has been misinterpreted,” Waxman said Friday in a statement clarifying his remarks Thursday.

His Friday statement adds:

What I was trying to say is that our climate policy must be much bigger and more ambitious than just rejecting the Keystone pipeline. EPA should issue emission standards that reduce carbon pollution from both new and old power plants, as well as other major sources of carbon pollution. The Department of Energy should tighten energy efficiency standards. The State Department should negotiate a phase-out of HFCs as part of the Montreal Protocol. Many other steps are also necessary.

Waxman’s Thursday remarks, made at the announcement of a new bicameral climate task force, and Friday clarification arrive in the middle of an intense political and lobbying battle over Keystone.

TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline would bring oil from Alberta’s massive oil sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.

Major business groups and a number of unions are pressing the White House to allow construction, while environmentalists have made stopping the pipeline a  priority.

“My views on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline have not changed. In fact, my opposition to the pipeline has intensified as the scientific evidence mounts that the impacts of both climate change and the pipeline itself are likely to be even worse than we have expected,” Waxman, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said Friday.

He added:

Using tar sands produces far more carbon pollution than conventional oil. That means a massive expansion of tar sands production is a huge step backwards on climate when the imperative of moving forward on climate has never been clearer. Just last week, a new report from the Pembina Institute, based in part on analyses by Canadian banks, confirmed that Keystone XL is critical to expanding tar sands production, which the oil companies plan to almost triple. I have opposed this reckless project from the beginning and I continue to strongly urge the president to reject it.

 

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