June 16th, 2014
02:30 PM ET
3 months ago

Clinton gives hope to both sides of Keystone debate

Washington (CNN) – Hillary Clinton didn't say Monday what she thinks the U.S. State Department should do on the Keystone XL pipeline, but the former secretary of state did give hope to both sides of the debate over the 1,179-mile-long project that would move oil from Canada to refineries in the United States.

Both pro- and anti-pipeline activists, for which there are many, will hear positive notes from Clinton's remarks at the Toronto event. While tweaking and heralding both positions, Clinton said she hoped the United States and Canada would not "put our relationship on the backs of this decision."

"This is an issue that has become a proxy for everything," Clinton said. "It is truly, deeply held opposing positions and people who are for it are adamant that it is necessary and not only necessary but salutary and does help to lead to a closer energy relationship between our two countries."

Clinton then added that, "People who are against it believe it has to be stopped because when will we ever make the pivot away from fossil fuels if we don't stop now."

CNN/ORC Poll: Clinton tops Obama on every issue

Then Clinton planted herself squarely in the middle of the two groups, telling an audience that "these are people making arguments in good faith," despite the fact that both side "may have some facts and not others."

Before her answer on Keystone, Clinton touted North American energy, stating that the region – including Mexico – can find common ground and unity around "clean renewable energy" and "energy efficiency efforts."

"I do believe that both Canada and the United States can become even richer, more prosperous, but also more environmentally sustainable by having a broad engagement over energy and climate and not focusing everything on this one decision," Clinton said.

For the last six months, Clinton has remained mum on the Keystone pipeline.

She mentions the issue a total of zero times in her book "Hard Choices," which she was touting at the event. And at past events, she has refused to comment because she feels it would be inappropriate given her predecessor, Secretary of State John Kerry, is tasked with deciding whether to approve the pipeline.

No pros and cons list yet for Clinton on 2016

In an interview posted Sunday with The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, Clinton was asked what she personally believed about the pipeline. Her answer: "I can’t respond."

Republicans jumped on the comment, with the Republican National Committee blasting an email out to reporters sarcastically calling the refrain a "portrait of courage."

The pipeline has been a hot button issue since it was first proposed in 2008 and more recently as Obama and Kerry mull whether to approve the project.

Republicans have seized on the issue and have hammered Democrats for not approving what they argue is a way to stimulate jobs. Environmental groups contend that the pipeline would be harmful for the environment and just deepen the United States' dependence on fossil fuels.

Canadians support for the project is generally strong and a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found in March that 65% of Americans said it should be approved.

Clinton added that she did not see the issue as a "proxy" for U.S.-Canada relations, noting that "It is, after all, one pipeline."

"We already have a lot of pipelines that cross our borders," Clinton said. "Don't tell anybody, they might get upset, but indeed we do."

According to a 2013 Congressional Research Service report, there are a total of 46 operating pipelines that carry natural gas and oil between the United States and Canada.

Romney: If Clinton runs in 2016, GOP should hit record at State

Clinton was interviewed Monday by Frank McKenna, the deputy chairman of the Toronto-Dominion Bank. This is the second time McKenna has done a public interviewed Clinton and asked about Keystone.

In March, during an event closed to the press, Clinton told the audience that "it just wouldn’t be appropriate to comment" on Keystone, according to Iain Black, the president and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade, the group hosting the event.

Clinton's State Department was tasked with overseeing whether to approve the pipeline and in a 2010 speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Clinton said she was "inclined" to approve it, according to the Washington Post.

What Clinton says, Clinton memes


Filed under: 2016 • Canada • Hillary Clinton • Keystone XL
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. ED1

    Another fake just wanting to get another pay check from tax payers why can't anyone see this.

    June 16, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Republicans have seized on the issue and have hammered Democrats for not approving what they argue is a way to stimulate jobs.
    ----------------------------------–
    This a false argument. How many of those jobs are permanent? There are legitimate environmental concerns that need to be addressed. Just look at how environmentally friendly fracking is(yeah right).

    June 16, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. CryBabies

    Dutch...Very few jobs are permanent...unless.....you're employed by the government. So with Keystone lets not initiate construction because the jobs are not permanent. I guess building the Alaska pipeline in the 70's was a bad idea because those jobs are not around anymore? Give me a cup of that "environment friendly kool-aid" so I can see what I'm missing.

    June 16, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "portrait of courage."

    You mean like hiding your taxes while running for POTUS or maybe changing the House rules so that you can force the government to shut down while you try to blame the other side for it? That kind of "courage"?

    June 16, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. forest gump

    So let me get this straight, the rwnj will critic her if she says no, and if she says yes, or if she doesn't side, still can't see it, here's your sign

    June 16, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    CryBabies

    Dutch...Very few jobs are permanent...unless.....you're employed by the government. So with Keystone lets not initiate construction because the jobs are not permanent. I guess building the Alaska pipeline in the 70's was a bad idea because those jobs are not around anymore? Give me a cup of that "environment friendly kool-aid" so I can see what I'm missing.
    -----------------------
    The dramatic increases in the price of a barrel of Alaskan oil when the pipeline came on line is what you're missing. Part of the cost of a barrel is the cost of transportation. The final cost is fixed, so the higher the transportation costs, then the lower the price is for each barrel. Final cost equals transportation plus product, which is "constant" price on the open market.

    We purchased the Alaskan products at a reduced cost because of the higher transportation costs associated with the product. When the transportation cost was significantly reduced, then the cost of the product increased significantly. The same scenario will play out with the Keystone XL. Our domestic cost will rise significantly.

    June 16, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. forest gump

    Cry baby, the gop has lied about this from word go, not our oil, how does that reduce our oil dependency, it doesn't. And who's refineries will be used, and what will happen to our price with reduced refining capabilities? And of course they have a spotless reputation regarding spills, and of course with their liabilities capped, safety is sure to be job one, Joe Parker told me so.

    June 16, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Chris-E...al

    This keystone seems to me would be great insurance and key for the dems tragic costly mideast blunder bobble that was so clearly bound to happen by most . This bunch must be suicidal and dumb as rocks ? Sorry rocks .

    June 16, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Lizzie

    She is right, there are so many pipelines crisscrossing this nation, why then have those opposed to pipelines not gone and protested to shut the OLD ones down.

    June 16, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Gunderson

    Aw, Yes,
    Nothing like straddling the fence! Lyndon Johnson shoved Medicare down our throats with out a second thought. Obama shoved Obama Care down our throat without a second thought. You want coffee with that? How about peas?

    June 16, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Bill from GA

    Republican National Committee blasting an email out to reporters sarcastically calling the refrain a "portrait of courage."
    I guess even the RNC will get it right once every zillion years.

    Hillary talks out of both sides of her mouth, saying NOTHING.

    EXample

    "This is an issue that has become a proxy for everything," Clinton said.
    ...
    Clinton added that she did not see the issue as a "proxy" for U.S.-Canada relations,

    Well Said, Hillary. Uh, Maybe. I guess. Or Not. What difference does it Make?

    June 16, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Bill from GA

    " Clinton gives hope to both sides of Keystone debate "

    Except anyone who wants a strong, decisive leader.

    June 16, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |