As President Obama recently said, he may not be on the ballot this year but his policies are. That was certainly apparent in campaign debates across the country last night, as Democratic candidates worked to distance themselves from the president by voicing their strong support for Keystone XL.
As Politico reported this morning, Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) “jumped at the chance to tout her support of Keystone XL,” explaining, “I disagree with the president, I think we need to build the Keystone pipeline.”
In Virginia, Senator Mark Warner also listed Keystone XL as one of the issues in which he diverges from President Obama – and when asked why he had opposed bills to approve Keystone XL, he replied, “On Keystone, I believe we ought to wait till we got the science proven.” In Colorado, when Senator Mark Udall was asked if he supported Keystone XL, he replied, “If the science is completed, yes.”
The good news for Senators Warner and Udall is that the science is not only proven and completed, there’s an overwhelming scientific consensus that Keystone XL passes President Obama’s climate test. In five separate assessments over six years of study, the State Department found that Keystone XL will have a negligible impact on the environment. Research institutions, climate and energy experts, and even multiple news outlets have agreed that the pipeline won’t significantly exacerbate greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why support for Keystone XL is “almost universal.”
Senators Hagan, Warner and Udall aren’t alone in stating their support for Keystone XL. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is running ads featuring a Louisiana couple who says they’re “with Mary” because she is fighting for the Keystone XL pipeline and “good paying jobs with good benefits.”
In Kentucky, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes told the AP, “The administration should rule now and approve the project. Putting Americans back to work in good-paying jobs that strengthen the middle class is my top priority and it should be the federal governments as well.”
In Georgia, Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn ran ads in which she says, “too many Democrats play politics by dragging their feet on the Keystone Pipeline.” In Arkansas, new outlets reported that the two competing Senate candidates actually appeared together at an event to “protest ongoing delays to the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.”
No wonder even the anti-Keystone XL group, League of Conservation Voters, is endorsing pro-Keystone XL candidates in key battleground states – they would be hard pressed to find many Democrats that don’t support the pipeline.
It’s clear that Keystone XL is very much on the ballot this year – and the only thing standing in the way of its construction is politics, pure and simple.