blog

Feature Menu

Robert Redford on clean energy and the presidential debate

This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post yesterday.

So, the first 2012 Presidential debate starts in a few minutes. I’m fairly sure Mitt Romney thinks he has an ace in the hole by using the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline against President Obama. In fact, he and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have said they’ll approve it on day one of their administration.

I think you might hear Romney repeat that during the debate and back it up with statements not even remotely based in fact.

So let’s take a quick look at what he might say and what are the actual facts:

Romney will tell you that there’s no good reason to block this proposal. The fact is that this proposal would mean opening the spigot for 900,000 barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil to flow through sensitive sections of America’s breadbasket to the Gulf for export to foreign countries. It’s that simple.

Romney will make this sound like the biggest best jobs plan American has to offer its citizens. He’ll tell you it will create tens of thousands of jobs, 20,000 to be exact, as he’s been saying on the campaign trail.

The truth is, it creates a negligible amount of temporary jobs with some analysis saying overall it’s a wash. But even it you take the most optimistic projection from the U.S. State Dept. it’ll only be 5-6,000 jobs, with a mix being temporary.

The fact is, there are many, many more jobs being created today in the clean energy sector, one of the fastest growing sectors in our economy.

Romney will tell you we need to keep the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in America so Canada won’t take it to China. The truth is, Canada doesn’t have a public agreement to sell tar sands oil to China at all. This is because it lacks a way to transfer the oil to a port for export. That’s right, this is about American communities taking all the risk so that Canada can get the majority of its dirty tar sands energy to China and other foreign lands. It won’t stay in America, as Romney might tell you tonight.

Let’s remember that everything Romney might say tonight about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will most likely point to his thinking there is no risk involved, that it’s a no-brainer. This is in sharp contrast to President Obama who has said that the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment merits seeking additional information about this proposal.

And while Romney has said repeatedly he will single-handedly approve this proposal on the first day he takes office, President Obama has said, “The final decision should be guided by an open, transparent process that is informed by the best available science and the voices of the American people.”

So buckle up and we should all listen very carefully.