Thursday, May 9, 2013

Keystone XL grand deal may be in the pipeline ... but what about those who will have the pipeline in their backyard?

Pun intended.

The New York Times reported today on the front page of the business section under the headline, "Foes Suggest a Trade-Off If Pipeline is Approved."  Here's the lede:
President Obama’s first major environmental decision of his second term could be to approve the Keystone XLpipeline, profoundly disappointing environmental advocates who have made the project a symbolic test of the president’s seriousness on climate change
But could some kind of deal be in the offing — a major climate policy announcement on, for example, power plant regulation or renewable energy incentives — to ease the sting of the pipeline approval? 
White House and State Department officials ... say the pipeline is not a fundamental piece of the nation’s climate policy nor is it a political bargaining chip to trade for other measures. 
* * * 
But to many environmentalists, including some of the president’s most active campaign supporters, the issue has huge symbolic and political importance.
So, some are suggesting that if President Obama approves the Keystone pipeline, he use the occasion to announce major new pro-environment policies, like new regulations for coal-fired power plants or a national clean energy standard.

Those sound like great policies for the nation--and the world.  But that sort of "deal making" at the national and global scale leaves me wondering: what about Nebraska? specifically, what about the rural Nebraskans and others living on the plains, along the pipeline's path, who bear different risks from the Keystone XL pipeline--on-the-ground risks, not just the global climate change risk we all share.  Read more here and here.  Is there something more for these folks in a possible grand compromise?

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