The White House, no doubt, hates it when this happens — when a top Obama official directly contradicts what the president himself has so firmly maintained about a major policy decision.
And one has to imagine what the next conversation between the president and his EPA chief will be like, after she just declared her boss to be wrong in saying the Keystone XL Pipeline would be “disastrous” for the climate.
The Hill reports that Gina McCarthy’s Keystone comment came on Monday in response to a question posed by Politico’s Mike Allen, who asked the head of the EPA a straight-forward, yes-or-no question as to whether Keystone would be a disaster for the climate.
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“’No,’ McCarthy responded at an event Politico hosted, ‘I don’t think that any one issue is a disaster for the climate.’”
However, in December of last year — before he vetoed a bill authorizing construction of the controversial pipeline that would carry heavy crude from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast — Obama described Keystone in very different language.
As The Washington Post noted, “President Obama spoke in dismissive terms of the Keystone XL pipeline Monday during an interview on ‘The Colbert Report Monday,’ saying its modest benefits need to be weighed against its contribution to climate change, ‘which could be disastrous.'”
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Politico points out that McCarthy’s Keystone comments, in addition to contradicting Obama, seem not to align with her own agency’s assessment of the project — something anti-Keystone environmental groups have flagged:
“Gina McCarthy would do well to look at comments published by her own EPA, warning that Keystone XL would accelerate development of the tar sands oil field in Canada, which in turn would mean game over for our climate,” Karthik Ganapathy, spokesman for the green group 350.org, said by email.
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