Why I oppose Keystone XL

When I was secretary of state, the department began reviewing an application to build a pipeline that would bring Canadian oil sands crude across the border, run more than a thousand miles through the American heartland, and terminate in Nebraska — Keystone XL.

As the secretary who initiated the review, I refrained from commenting on the pipeline after I left the federal government. I didn’t want to get ahead of President Obama while the process was still underway — because the decision was and is his to make.

Since the application was filed, the effects of climate change have grown more acute. More than 8 million acres have burned in the United States so far this wildfire season. California is in the fourth year of a historic drought scientists say has been made worse by climate change. More severe storms and extreme heat waves have wreaked havoc around the world.

I have come to feel I can’t stay silent on an issue that matters so much to so many. Though I wanted to give the president space to make a decision, the process has taken far longer than I expected. I want the American people to know where I stand. That’s why I am making it clear:

I am opposed to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

We shouldn’t be building a pipeline dedicated to moving North America’s dirtiest fuel through our communities — we should be focused on what it will take to make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. For too long, the Keystone XL pipeline has been a distraction from the real challenges facing our energy sector — and the job-creating investments that we should be making to meet them. Building a clean, secure, and affordable North American energy future is bigger than Keystone XL or any other single project. That’s what I will focus on as president.

That’s why today I am announcing a comprehensive strategy to modernize American energy infrastructure and forge a new partnership with Canada and Mexico to combat climate change across the continent, unleashing billions in investment, delivering reliable and affordable energy, protecting the health of our families and communities, and creating good-paying jobs and careers.

The United States trades as much energy with Canada and Mexico each year as with all other countries combined, through a deeply integrated pipeline network, rail system, and electrical grid. As President, I will immediately launch negotiations with Canada and Mexico to forge a North American Climate Compact that sets strong national targets to cut carbon pollution, so all three countries demonstrate a commitment to climate action; provides accountability measures, so each country has confidence that the others are living up to their end of the bargain; and creates certainty for investors and confidence in the future of our climate, so we can all marshal resources equal to the challenges we face.

In recent years, American communities have endured toxic pipeline spills and rail car explosions. We have yet to harness new technologies that reduce costs and increase consumer choice or to sufficiently protect the grid against the growing threat of cyber-attack. Even as states and the Obama administration have worked to accelerate clean energy deployment, we need to do more. Simply put, our infrastructure has not kept pace with the changing energy sector.

To help unleash the investment we need, I will create a national infrastructure bank that leverages public and private capital, and work with Congress to close corporate tax loopholes and increase transportation funding to cut commute times, oil consumption, and pollution. Along with my Clean Energy Challenge to boost low-carbon electricity, improve building efficiency, and make our cars and trucks cheaper to fuel and cleaner to operate, these steps will create jobs and opportunity across the country.

Our more than 2 million miles of oil and natural gas pipes are in disrepair, resulting in oil spills, chronic methane leaks, and even devastating explosions. I will strengthen national pipeline safety regulations and partner with pipeline operators, local regulators, and technology providers in repairing and replacing thousands of miles of the country’s oldest pipes.

Over the past five years, a 20-fold increase in the amount of oil shipped by rail has led to devastating accidents. My plan speeds up the retirement of the oldest and riskiest train cars, repairs track defects, and guarantees first responders and the public have better information about oil and hazardous materials passing through their communities.

We must also invest in grid security and resilience. My plan creates a new threat assessment team to improve coordination and protect our grid from cyberattack, and strengthens the grid to reliably and affordably meet both base load and peak demand.

American energy policy is about more than a single pipeline to transport Canada’s dirtiest fuel across our country. It’s about building our future — a future where the United States will once again lead the world by constructing state-of-the-art infrastructure, creating new jobs and new markets, accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy, and improving the health, safety, and security of all Americans.

Learn more about Hillary’s vision for modernizing North American energy infrastructure.