At an event in Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she is opposed to the Keystone XL Pipeline.
"I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is: a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change, and, unfortunately from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward," Clinton said.
"Therefore, I oppose it," she continued. "I don't think it's in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change."
The Keystone XL pipeline has been a contentious issue ever since it was commissioned in 2010, and Clinton has been dodging all questions about her position on the pipeline for almost just as long.
The pipeline is not yet completed and remains under review by the State Department. If approved, the completed pipeline would run 1,200 miles from Alberta, Canada, down to the Gulf of Mexico, and would move up to 830,000 barrels of crude each day from Canada's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Environmentalists are strongly opposed to the project, because, at a time when our greenhouse gas emissions desperately need to be reduced, producing crude from oil sands emits roughly 17% more greenhouse gases than traditional oil drilling.
Questions about Clinton's stance on the pipeline project have followed the former Secretary of State all along the campaign trail, but until now, she has refused to take a stance on the issue.
Now, Clinton says that her steadfast refusal to answer any question about the pipeline was due to a desire not to interfere with the review process that began under her watch.
"I was in a unique position as secretary of state at the start of this process, and not wanting to interfere with ongoing decision-making that the President and Secretary [of State John] Kerry have to do in order to make whatever final decisions they need," Clinton said. "So I thought this would be decided by now, and therefore I could tell you whether I agree or disagree, but it hasn't been decided, and I feel now I've got a responsibility to you and voters who ask me about this."
Photo credit: NBC News