Here’s where every single presidential candidate stands on Keystone — except Hillary Clinton



Rumor has it that President Obama will officially reject the Keystone XL pipeline in the coming weeks. But whatever he decides, you can be sure the issue won’t go away. All of the presidential candidates will keep on talking about it. Well, all of them except the one who’s been avoiding the topic like Ebola. Here’s where the other candidates stand:

Most Republican politicians, just like most Americans, had never heard of the Keystone XL pipeline until climate activists starting fighting it in 2011. But once that happened, the GOP rushed en masse to defend it, and they’ve been ranting and raving about its critical importance ever since, making delusional claims about its potential to create jobs and super-charge the U.S. economy. Every single “major” GOP candidate for president — all 17 of them — supports the proposed pipeline, and many have pledged to approve it on their first day in the White House.


Donald Trump

Not only has he backed the pipeline for years, but he owns at least $250,000 worth of stock in TransCanada, the company that’s trying to build it.


Jeb Bush


Scott Walker

“We need a president who will approve the Keystone pipeline on the very first day in office and then seek to level the playing field for all sources of energy,” he said during his campaign launch speech in July.


Mike Huckabee

“The Keystone pipeline should be an easy decision for any president, an easy decision for anybody with an IQ above broccoli,” Huckabee said in Iowa in May.


Ben Carson

“It’s perfectly safe, so I can’t really see a good reason not to do it,” Carson said of the pipeline in an interview with Bloomberg last November.


Ted Cruz

Cruz has actually argued that everyone is too fixated on Keystone, but he still wants to build it. “As much as we need to approve the Keystone pipeline, we need to think far broader than that. We need to do far more,” he said last year.


Marco Rubio

“By not acting on Keystone, the President is depriving America of a means to create jobs, take a step towards energy independence, and bolster our national security by tapping into our energy resources and those of our friends in Canada instead of tyrannical governments,” Rubio said in a statement in 2012.


Rand Paul

The Keystone pipeline is “in America’s best interest,” Rand said in 2013, and Obama, by opposing it, is “siding with the liberal environmentalists … just as he did with Solyndra.”




Rick Perry

On “day one” in the White House, Perry says he would “sign an executive order approving the construction of the Keystone pipeline.”


Rick Santorum




Lindsey Graham

“I think we are stupid as a nation not to have agreed to build the pipeline a long time ago,” he said in January. He’s even been up to visit the tar-sands oil operations in Alberta and thinks they’re just great.


George Pataki

Pataki, like Kasich, is one of the rare Republican politicians who forthrightly accepts climate science, but, also like Kasich, he’s still pro-pipeline:



There’s more variety among the Democratic candidates.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders is outspoken in his opposition to the pipeline. “It is hard for me to understand how one can be concerned about climate change but not vigorously oppose the Keystone pipeline,” he said in July.


Martin O’Malley

O’Malley is firmly opposed too, and has a cute little meme box to prove it:


Jim Webb

Webb “sucks” on climate change, Grist’s Ben Adler has argued, so it should be no surprise that he backs Keystone. “I support the pipeline,” he said earlier this month. “If you look at it in terms of the environmental analysis, it is neutral.”


Lincoln Chafee

OK, it was actually an exaggeration to say that every single presidential candidate other than Hillary Clinton has articulated a position on Keystone. Chafee has also avoided taking a stance. But hardly anyone’s ever heard of him anyway.


Hillary Clinton

She’s been dodging this issue for years. When asked about her views on Keystone at a New Hampshire event earlier this month, she said, “If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.” So there.


Oh, and for you third-party types, Green Party presidential hopeful Jill Stein is so opposed to Keystone that she got herself arrested while protesting it. Take that, Bernie.


This article is republished on Medium as part of Climate Desk, a joint publishing partnership between Grist, where it first appeared, The Atlantic, CIR, CityLab, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Slate and WIRED. Originally published on August 16, 2015.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.