A clearly frustrated Clinton explained why she has withheld her opinion on the 1,179-mile-long project
"I have been waiting for the administration to make a decision. I thought I owed them that," Clinton said
Hillary Clinton on Thursday said her decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline was coming “soon.”
During a question-and-answer sesson at a Boys and Girls Club here, a clearly frustrated Clinton explained why she has withheld her opinion on the 1,179-mile-long project that would move oil from Canada to refineries in the United States.
“I have been waiting for the administration to make a decision. I thought I owed them that,” Clinton said. “I can’t wait too much longer. I am putting the White House on notice. I am going to tell you what I think soon because I can’t wait.”
She later added that she thought the issue would have been decided by now.
Clinton has yet to say whether she would support or reject the pipeline as president, citing the fact that she worked closely on the project as secretary of state and that the Obama administration, primarily Secretary of State John Kerry, is currently working on environmental reviews.
The issue has become a cause celebre for environmental activists who want the Obama administration to reject the deal, arguing that it deepens the United States’ dependence on oil and contributes to climate change. Others argue that the impact on the environment will be minimal, as the oil will not go unused even if the pipeline is rejected.
Clinton has repeatedly been asked about Keystone on the campaign trail but has never answered directly.
“I am not going to second guess (President Barack Obama) because I was in a position to set this in motion,” Clinton said at a July event in New Hampshire. “I want to wait and see what he and Secretary Kerry decide.”
At the same event, she later added, “If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”
And throughout much of 2013 and 2014, Clinton criss-crossed the country on the paid speaking circuit and later on her book tour. She was asked about Keystone a number of times, particularly in Canada, where the pipeline would originate. At no point did she take a position, however.
The issue has become a political liability for Clinton.
In an interview this month, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – Clinton’s main Democratic opponent – said “I am opposed to the construction of the Keystone pipeline. Clinton has not voiced an opinion on that.”
Republican Jeb Bush knocked Clinton on Thursday night in Nevada for not taking a position on the issue.
“Hillary Clinton still can’t say if she’s in favor of the XL pipeline,” he said. “I can. I’m for it.”