All In   |  April 01, 2013

Keystone pipeline leaves politics, environment muddied

Chris Hayes and the panel continue their discussion of the Exxon Mobil oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> i have led the efforts in the house to support the keystone xl pipeline. project that would bring more north american energy to the marketplace. and put thousands to work. the obama administration continues to block keystone using every bureaucratic trick and excuse in the book. it's now been more than 1600 days since the initial permits were filed for building the pipeline. to put that in perspective, it took the united states a little more than 1300 days to win world war ii and it took lewis and clark about 1100 days to walk the louisiana purchase and back. the keystone xl pipeline is a no-brainer.

>> all right, so that is a little snippet of a larger rhetoric that's emerged not just around keystone , but in our politics, we have seen the right particularly republicans become more reactionary on this issue, right? they have gone from this kind of this is a necessary evil to this is an affirmative good. drill, baby drill. steve stockman tweeted the other day, a quite conservative republican congressman from texas, the best thing about the earth, this was his tweet, the best thing about the urkt is you can poke holes in it and oil and gas will come out. if that's the direction the republican caucus is moving, if you have democrats here voting for this resolution, how do the politics on this shift, on keystone particularly?

>> i think they shift, and they have shifted, by the way, when people watch their television and see what happened in new jersey and new york. when they hear scientists saying you're going to see this every year and it's going to be even worse . and people understand that. and when people see droughts in the southwest, and when they see flooding and they see heat waves all over the world, when people see their lakes aren't freezing over, they say, i may not be a scientist, i know something is wrong, and i understand that for my kids and for my grandchildren, we have got to do something about it. so i am not pessimistic about the future. i think with good organizations like 350.org, worthing with the grassroots, we can make the case, not only that we have to collect green house gas emissions, we can create jobs.

>> do you want to see the president not authorize the keystone pipeline ?

>> of course.

>> your senator was one who voted for that symbolic resolution. i'm curious if that opens up the conversation with the folks in arkansas ?

>> it's a good excuse to stop by. we talked about it before, he's been a champion for it, but certainly, senator prior, as his father david pryor both had a sign on their desks that say arkansas first. when we look at mayflower today and the devastation that could happen, this could be a devastating type thing. if senator pryor puts arkansas first, he might reconsider this. i might also point out our griszman from this district, tim griffin , has been a champion of the keystone project as well. this is in his district. this spill is in his district. i want him to take a close look at this and see is it worth a few small amount of jobs for the environmental risk that's at stake. i don't think so. so if you look at the local politics , it makes a difference, but i totally agree with senator leahy -- senator sanders , excuse me, about the environmental affect on a large scale. this keystone pipeline is bad news. we don't need it. it's going to shift the science in a way we don't need it.

>> there's a coalition that has been biltd in opposition. even included the governor of nebraska, included a lot of ranchers. what we're dealing with here is an assessment of the risk, not just of the climate, but the basic risk of is this going to get in the backyard of your subdivision, and this is data from the federal government 's regulatory body. and these are oil spills from pipelines over the last 20 years, 1993 to 2012 , and there's not really any trend. you say the technology is getting better. that does not indicate to me that the technology is getting any better.

>> the infrastructure for pipelines has been basically the same for the last 70 years and the number of spills have been the same for the past 70 years. this is just part of the business and a bad part of the business.

>> and we have to do better and we can do better. what has been so interesting in the keystone fight is it has brought climate change back into the focus, and we're working with the sierra club and glen and others to try and see how we can make president obama take this movement seriously.

>> but can you get the tim griffins of the world? this to me is the big question. if we're going to price carbon, you have a fantastic bill if you don't mind me saying that you cosponsors that would put a price on the carbon. dan, i think you would agree.

>> i think that's the real way to get back at exxonmobil. the only way --

>> we're not doing this out of punitive desire.

>> but the only way you get them to heel to task is to take away the economic advantages of getting oil sands out of the ground from canada. that means you have to put a price on what it is to take a canadian out of the affabaska or go into the gulf of mexico or somebody's backyard or go and get tide oil. the way you do that is put a price on what it is in terms of the effects it has on the environment. and once you do that, then it makes more sense for exxon to in fact pursue gasoline from algae as opposed to gasoline from natural gas or from oil sands in canada. that's where the rubber is going to meet the roads. economics.

>> exactly, and the point has to be made that we now have the technology in terms of energy efficiency , in terms the decreased price for solar panel panels, in terms of the need for wind. we now can do it. if there was a political will in the white house and in the congress, we can transform the energy system. we can create millions of jobs. we could lead the world and be an exporter around the world of that type of technology. that's the future, not oil sknrx that's why the keystone pipeline should be defeated.

>> we can't afford not to make that choice, in fact, and this is one of the most devastating projects on the planet. tar sands from outer space make the planet look like mordor. the scale of it is hard to comprehend wrfrb every three days, enough oil is moved in alberta to fill yankee stadium .

>> my take away from this is we should reach out to tim griffin tomorrow to ask about his reaction to the spill and whether it's changed his opinion on keystone at all. and we should check back in on how this cleanup goes in kalamazoo, which is the most expensive on-ground oil spill in american history . senator bernie sanders of vermont, may bouvier, dan dicker, and glen hooks, thank you all so much.

>>> a massive institutional scandal complete with theft, conspiracy, witness tampering and false statements, and the people at the heart of it just happen to be responsible for the futures of 52,000 children. that's coming up.