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Science Magazine Editor-in-Chief: “Time to Move Forward on the Keystone XL Pipeline”

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Construction of part of the Keystone XL pipeline in Prague, Oklahoma.
Construction of part of the Keystone XL pipeline in Prague, Oklahoma.
Caption: 
Construction of the Gulf Coast Project pipeline in Prague, Oklahoma, U.S., in 2013. The Gulf Coast Project is part of the Keystone XL pipeline. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.

Another former Obama administration official has endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline. Marcia McNutt, prominent scientist, former head of the U.S. Geological Survey, and now the editor-in-chief of Science magazine writes in an editorial [subscription required]:

I drive a hybrid car and set my thermostat at 80°F in the Washington, DC, summer. I use public transportation to commute to my office, located in a building given “platinum” design status by the U.S. Green Building Council. The electric meter on my house runs backward most months of the year, thanks to a large installation of solar panels. I am committed to doing my part to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and minimize global warming. At the same time, I believe it is time to move forward on the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from the tar sands deposits of Alberta, Canada, and from the Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

In an NPR interview, McNutt said she was initially against the pipeline, but changed her mind. The lack of a pipeline “did not stop the development of the tar sands,” she stated. They're being moved by other means. The State Department came to a similar conclusion in its environmental analysis of the pipeline.

“But McNutt goes on to say she's now convinced that building Keystone would not speed up oil sands development, and notes that developer TransCanada changed the initial proposed route to avoid an ecologically sensitive region of Nebraska,” National Journal’s Ben Geman reports.

McNutt joins other former Obama administration officials such as former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and former National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon in supporting the pipeline.

To borrow McNutt’s words, “it is time to move forward.” The administration should approve the Keystone XL pipeline.