President Barack Obama gave a speech in Boston Wednesday to defend his signature health care law, which has had a disastrous rollout, but not long into his talk, the president was interrupted by shouts from anti-Keystone pipeline protesters.
Obama stopped in mid-sentence as loud voices erupted from the back of the same Faneuil hall in Boston where Mitt Romney signed the popular Massachusetts health care bill. He waited patiently for a few seconds as the audience booed the intruders. The crowd then laughed and applauded the president’s cool response:
“That is the wrong rally,” he quipped, smiling.
“We had the climate change rally back in the summer. This is the health care rally,” Obama concluded playfully before resuming his discussion on the benefits of ACA and the mountain of misinformation floated by Republicans.
The protestors tried to interrupt later in Obama’s talk, but the second time he just kept going without much disruption to his point.
News from the White House on the Keystone XL pipeline has been non-existent in recent months, perhaps because the subject has been buried by more pressing problems related to the government shutdown, immigration, debt ceiling battle and the latest ACA predicament.
Meanwhile, a spat of oil pipeline spills has occurred in recent weeks with very little notice.
Alternet Environment reported that 17,000 gallons of crude leaked from a Koch-owned pipeline in Texas on Tuesday and, earlier in the month, a Tesoro pipeline sprung a leak in North Dakota that wasn’t reported by the state for 11 days until a farmer complained his field of wheat was so decimated by the black goo it was impossible to determine what the crop had been. That spill was estimated at more than 20,000 gallons of oil.
Republicans have put pressure on Obama to approve the TransCanada Keystone pipeline for over a year; even trying to include it in the failed bills they approved to overturn Obamacare and fund the government.
According to a report by David J. Unger in the Christian Science Monitor, “Backers of the pipeline have also expressed frustration with the permitting process, which has involved a handful of controversial government environmental reviews and is expected to continue at least into 2014. But TransCanada, the Canadian energy company behind the project, hasn't shown any signs of backing down from building the pipeline, or finding alternative ways to get the oil to market.”
Nonetheless, the president is currently focused on getting the bugs worked out of the ACA website and educating the public on the truth about health care plans available to them.
“I’m confident that these marketplaces will work because Massachusetts has shown that the model works,” Mr. Obama said. “Yeah, it’s hard. But it’s worth it. It is the right thing to do. We are going to keep moving forward.”
Obama slammed Republicans for using the ACA launch difficulties as political ammunition to sink the entire plan, which has been a major obsession by extremists in the party, primarily led by Texas newbie, Ted Cruz.
“We are going to see this through,” Obama vowed.
As for protesters of the Keystone pipeline, they should remember the president has said he would not approve the pipeline if there’s evidence it would worsen climate change. And, after all, there’s a plenty of evidence that extracting the world’s dirtiest crude from tar sands using massive amounts of water and carcinogenic chemicals is a bad thing for everyone involved—except big oil corporations.
So, opponents of the pipeline hope Obama knows the truth, keeps his cool against GOP pressure and tosses approval for Keystone through the White House window.
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Jean Williams, environmental and political journalist; PrairieDogPress writer; Artistic Director, Keystone Prairie Dogs.***PrairieDogPress is the media channel for keystone-prairie-dogs.com, which is a fundraising website to support environmental groups for extraordinary efforts to protect Great Plains habitat and prairie dogs in the wild. PDP uses humorous images, social commentary and serious-minded political reports to challenge government on numerous levels, including accountability to the people, the protection of threatened species, the environment and Earth’s natural resources.