Sierra Club Chief ‘Confident’ That Kerry, Obama Will Scuttle Pipeline

Photo Credit: Center for American Progress Action FundSierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune predicted victory Tuesday in activists’ battle against the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, calling President Obama’s vow to focus on climate change in his second inaugural speech a good omen.

“We are confident that [new Secretary of State John] Kerry will advise the president and the president will decide to reject this pipeline because it is such a clear first test of the president’s commitment to actually fighting climate change and … moving beyond these extreme sources of energy,” Brune said on WAMU’s “The Diane Rehm Show.”

In addition to Obama’s speech, the arrival of Kerry – a longtime advocate of emissions curbs – at the State Department has bolstered environmentalists’ hopes that Keystone will not receive a federal permit.

The State Department is heading the federal review. Kerry, in his Jan. 24 confirmation hearing before a Senate committee, kept his cards close to the vest on Keystone.

Stopping TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline to bring oil from Canada’s oil sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries has become a top priority for environmental groups.

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