Sanders comes out against two Midwestern pipeline projects

Sanders comes out against two Midwestern pipeline projects
© Tom Anderson
At a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Sanders said as president, he would follow a standard set by President Obama when it comes to pipeline projects, including two proposals for pipelines crossing Minnesota. 
“President Obama said when his administration was reviewing the Keystone [XL] pipeline that he wouldn’t approve it if it made climate and our planet more dangerous. He wouldn’t approve that if he could make the point that the emissions from the entire project would add to climate change,” the Vermont senator said. 
“Those are exactly the same standard that we need to apply to the Alberta Clipper and the Sandpiper, and that’s what I would do as president of the United States of America.”
The two projects in question, both from pipeline company Enbridge, differ significantly from Keystone, which required a presidential approval permit because it crosses an international border. Obama rejected that permit in November.
The Sandpiper project, a proposed 616-mile pipeline stretching from North Dakota to Superior, Wis., is in the hands of state regulators in the region. A Minnesota court ruled in August that the project needs a more intensive environmental review than the one state regulators been planning, and Enbridge said earlier this month it doesn’t expect the project to be up and running until 2019. 
The company is also looking to expand its “Alberta Clipper” pipeline, which already runs across the U.S.-Canadian border and transports oil under an existing presidential permit. The company and the State Department have argued that  permit appears to give them permission to expand its capacity, an argument a federal judge accepted — for now — in December. 
Greens, though, have argued the president has the power to block a further expansion of the pipeline. They hailed Sanders’ statement on the project on Monday. 
“The litmus test of climate leadership in 2016 is keeping fossil fuels in the ground,” said Jason Kowalski, a spokesman for the climate group 350 Action. 
“Once again Senator Sanders has come out against new fossil fuel infrastructure that would exacerbate the climate crisis.”