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July 23, 2010

The Vision Thing

The "vision thing," as Bush the elder once called it, is still underrated by a lot of politicians who can't see past the next election (some of whom seriously let their country down in the Senate this week). But keeping an eye on the big picture matters if you want to solve big problems, and I'm glad to say that kind of vision wasn't completely absent in D.C. this week. You just had to look a few blocks west of the Capitol to the Ariel Rios building, which houses the EPA.

Earlier this week, the agency issued its comments on the State Department's draft Environmental Impact of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. They probably would have had nicer things to say about The Endangered Species Cookbook. Then again, it's hard to top the kind of  disaster that would be guaranteed by encouraging tar-sands strip mines and piping the most toxic and costly fuel in existence across our border.

Once again, Secretary Lisa Jackson and her agency have shown that they're determined to take the Protection part of their initials seriously. Tar-sands oil is bad, unequivocally bad -- short-term, long-term, any term you want to take. It's incredible that we still even have to fight against it. Then again, it's also incredible that anyone ever thought letting BP drill deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico carried no risks. Isn't hindsight amazing?

Thanks to the Lisa Jackson's foresight, we might not have to kick ourselves some day for making the same mistake with tar sands that we did with deepwater drilling.

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Michael Brune

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