Obama's top donors ask him to say no to Keystone XL

Letter signed by 150 donors, including Taco Bell heir and Gwyneth Paltrow's mom, asks president to reject pipeline

Published May 10, 2013 5:56PM (EDT)

Environmental activists have been putting their bodies on the line for months -- both in the form of physical blockades in Texas and rallies in Washington -- to halt the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands to the Gulf Coast. The TransCanada pipeline extension requires Obama's approval, and experts believe he will give it -- a State Department survey of the project (written by contractors with ties to the oil industry) has already given the pipeline the green light. On Friday, 150 of the president's most prominent donors, including Vinod Khosla, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems; Rob McKay, the heir to the Taco Bell fortune and chairman of the Democracy Alliance; Blythe Danner, the actor and mother of Gwyneth Paltrow; and Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of the Esprit clothing, wrote to the president urging he reject the pipeline.

Via the Guardian:

In a letter seen by the Guardian, 150 high-profile figures, who between them raised millions for Obama's two election campaigns, urged the president to use the next four years to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. "Yours is the last presidency in which it is possible for America to choose a responsible path forward for itself, before climate disruption becomes unmanageably dangerous," the letter said.

Opponents of the pipeline fear the project seems headed for approval, despite Obama's promises to act on climate change in his second term. Obama told a group at a West Coast fundraiser last month: "the politics of this are tough."

The letter contends that the Keystone XL project would be the most important environmental decision of Obama's presidency.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Anti-fracking Barack Obama Environment Keystone Xl Pipeline