Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to have protesters camped outside her headquarters on the first full day of her presidential campaign.
The demonstration will be led by the group 350 Action, which has been a leader in the fight against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Karthik Ganapathy, a spokesman for the group, said they want Clinton to take a position on the pipeline, and with her campaign announcement planned for Sunday, it’s “indefensible” for her to not weigh in on the pipeline.
“She’s been very dodgy on Keystone,” Ganapathy told Business Insider on Friday. “We’ve been dissatisfied with that for a while. That unwillingness to take a position on something, it’s significantly more indefensible when you’re a declared presidential candidate.”
Ganapathy said Clinton’s silence on the issue contrasts with the announced presidential candidates on the Republican side — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) — who have publicly supported and voted for the pipeline.
“It’s even more indefensible when Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have taken a position on it when you, as the Democratic front-runner, have not,” he added.
The Republican-led Congress pushed hard for legislation authorizing the pipeline, which would run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Supporters say the pipeline would create thousands of new jobs and help make the US more energy independent. Critics have made a variety of arguments, including that it would hasten the effects of climate change.
President Barack Obama vetoed the Keystone bill in February because it allegedly “cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment.” The next occupant of the Oval Office is likely to play a key role on deciding whether the project is ultimately approved.
A Clinton spokesman did not respond to a request from Business Insider on the Keystone protest, but the former secretary of state has previously cited the State Department’s ongoing review of the project when pressed on where she stands.
“We have differences and you won’t get me to talk about Keystone because I have steadily made clear that I’m not going to express an opinion,” Clinton said at at event in Canada last January, according to the Associated Press. “It is in our process and that’s where it belongs.”
An email from a 350 Action organiser obtained by Business Insider indicates the group hopes its protest will start to “box Hillary in as early as possible” during her presidential campaign by making themselves visible outside of her new Brooklyn headquarters.
“Hillary is expected to announce her candidacy on Sunday evening, and we want to show up at her offices the next day, to show that the climate movement is paying attention and will be pressuring her to be bold on climate issues/Keystone throughout her campaign,” the organiser, Deirdre Shelly, wrote on Friday. “There’s going to be a lot of media swirling around her new campaign … so this is a perfect opportunity to put climate in the news.”
Earlier this week, Ganapathy tweeted a photo that may show up again during Clinton’s White House bid: a “Ready for Hillary” sign repurposed for the Keystone issue:
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