Jansing and Co | February 18, 2013
>>> now the hard part begins. in spite of frigid temperatures an estimated 35,000 people turned out at washington's national mall and outside the white house for what environmentalists are calling the largest climate rally in u.s. history . they want the president to reject the controversial keystone oil pipeline .
>> the first and biggest test of the president is to make sure he rejects the tar sands pipeline. we know that clean energy would do a better job. we also want the president to turn away from drilling in the arctic and to regulate smoke stacks and refineries across the country so they're installing modern pollution controls.
>> i am joined by democratic strategist and co-founder of purple strategies steve mcmahon and republican strategist chris wilson . good morning, guys.
>> good morning.
>> the president has a very tough political decision to make. he promised to do more to attack climate change in the state of the union and on the campaign trail and also promised to do more on jobs and transcanada that has the pipeline claims it would create 20,000 new jobs while some of the president's biggest supporters support the plan, so you got them on one side, steve , the environmentalists on the other side. what's he do?
>> i think what first thing he should do is make a decision quickly because this is -- there is pressure building in the environmental community for the president not to do this, and i think there is also pressure on the other side from the unions which are another important constituency of the president to do this and so this is a decision going to make someone unhappy so no reason to drag it out. he ought to make the decision.
>> bill mckibben , the founder of
350.org says approving the pipeline would be akin to lighting a carbon bomb that would cause irreparable harm and you have republicans like senator ted cruise that expressed skepticism climate change even exists. does that kind of talk actually hurt supporters?
>> i don't think it is relevant. steve pointed out and i agree, this is about jobs primarily and the president has to make a decision about where does he side here? does he side with radical environmentalists or with the aflcio and other unions that recognize this would create 20,000 middle income wage earning jobs and that's --
>> let me doubleback for a minute. what is radical about the fact they point out the earth's nine warmest years ever have occurred since 2000 , that we know this kind of oil causes more carbon dioxide emissions and a dirtier process than other ways of getting oil, so why do you say that?
>> well, it is not a dirtier process. it has gone through three separate independent environmental constituted auto he is that show the entire pipeline is safe and half already in existence. the choice we're making here is do we import oil or bring in oil from canada or we bring it in from the middle east ? if you put oil from canada coming into the united states versus coming in from the middle east and say that somehow the middle east is safer, i would say that's an absolutely insane idea and this is really the way in which we can create jobs, make energy cheaper, and protect our national security .
>> this is another part of the calculation is the political calculation, our relationship with canada , and i don't think most people would disagree. we want to buy less oil from opec countries and more from other sources. on the other hand you saw some of those environmentalists chaining themselves to fences and this is the first time that the sierra club has ever done this kind of of civil disobedience . is this a defining moment of the presidency for barack obama and what about what chris says? sgr for a lot of environmentsalists it is a defining moment. remember, there was a rally, and it was a climate change rally. we're talking here about the keystone pipeline which is a subset of the climate change argument. you kind of got to pull these things apart. i think the president in the state of the union --
>> yes, but also i think there is general agreement, don't you think, steve , the chances of climate change and legislation getting through the congress are pretty small, and so the reason they're focusing so much on xl, not just they think it is really important but they think it is the thing that might be able to get done this year.
>> let's look at the facts. xl is a presidential executive action that could have a significant environmental impact and i think what the president did in the state of the union is said i am going to try to get congress to move on environmental protection but if i couldn't get congress to cooperate i will take whatever steps i can take on my own independently. with respect to greenhouse gases , there are a lot of things he can could. keystone pipeline is one of them. as chris points out we'll get the oil from somewhere. labor in the environmental community on this issue are split. so he is going to make somebody unhappy. both were very, very involved in the campaign. he owes both to each of those individual constituencies, the labor community has been make ago lot of noise on this and the environmental community basically for four years has been asked to wait and they're tired of waiting and looking for action. if the president can't do this for them, i think he needs to and probably will quickly be looking at other things he can do that will make the environmental community a little happier.
>> gentlemen, thank you so much.
>> thank you.