Obama's climate pledge faces quick test
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Environmental groups say President Barack Obama's warning about climate change will soon be tested as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Obama pledged in his inaugural speech Monday to respond to what he called the threat of climate change, saying: "Failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."
By singling out climate change, Obama indicated a willingness to take on an issue that he acknowledges was often overlooked during his first term. He also was setting up a likely confrontation with congressional Republicans who have opposed legislative efforts to curb global warming.
Environmental groups said the president's first test on climate change could come early this year as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline that will carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas.
The State Department is reviewing the pipeline and is expected to make a recommendation to Obama as soon as April. The State Department has federal jurisdiction because the $7 billion pipeline begins in Canada.
Obama blocked the pipeline last year, citing uncertainty over the project's route through environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska. On Tuesday, the state's Republican governor, Dave Heineman, gave his approval to a revised route for the pipeline, adding to the political pressure.