This prompt implies that environmental groups no longer support President Obama. From my experience at the Sierra Club as an intern this summer, environmental groups have continued to support the president; although they do not always agree with all of his environmental policies. Progress with any major social movement is slow and requires copious amounts of patience, passion and persistence. Environmental groups agree that not enough is being done; but they still continue to support the President in the environmental endeavors that he does partake in.
Regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline, President Obama has made it very clear that he will not approve the KXL pipeline, should building it generate more greenhouse gasses than if it was not built. He will base his decision on the State Department’s environmental review of the pipeline. In the meantime, the President has already made progress in addressing climate disruption. He has had the solar panels that were removed from the White House during the Regan administration reinstalled. President Obama also charged the Department of the Interior with the task of permitting 10 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by the end of 2012. The DOI surpassed this goal and President Obama set the bar even higher, establishing a goal of 10 additional gigawatts by 2020. Overall, the Obama administration has made significant strides to address environmental issues, given the uncooperative Congress and harsh public that they must cooperate with.
I believe that an institutional overhaul is completely inappropriate to address environmental issues. We live in a country that allows for ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference within the established system of government. While success in environmental reform is important, it is, in my opinion, just as important to respectful to the institutions and values that the United States was built upon. If there are people in the U.S. who won’t even accept the science of climate disruption, how can we expect them to embrace a brand new, ecocentric regime?
More info on the current state of the Keystone XL Pipeline:
- Keystone XL Oil Pipeline 5th environmental study complete (nebraskaradionetwork.com)
- Keystone XL’s Climate Impact Would Be Enormous, According to Enviros (huffingtonpost.com)
- Sierra Club Report Claims Keystone XL Pipeline Fails Obama’s Climate Test (stateimpact.npr.org)