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Andrea Mitchell Applauds RFK Jr.'s 'Impassioned Plea' for Obama to Stop Keystone Pipeline by Fiat

On Friday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell gave left-wing environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. a platform to denounce the Keystone Pipeline. Kennedy ranted: "The people who are promoting this are the Koch brothers, who spent $2 million trying to hurt him [Obama], the Tea Party people in Congress, and the Republicans who have been trying to block every part of his agenda. There's nobody who traditionally supported him or traditionally supported the interests of children or the environment or democratic civilization as we – you know, at our highest ideals, that wants this thing to happen. It's a catastrophe, and he needs to use his power to say – just say no." [Listen to the audio]

Mitchell's response to that outrageous pronouncement: "Robert Kennedy Jr., thank you very much. An impassioned plea against the pipeline."

Mitchell broached the subject by noting that an environmental impact study just released by the State Department seemed to "give a green light or remove a hurdle because it does say there would not be an appreciable effect, that the tarsands oils will be extracted with or without the pipeline."

To that Kennedy replied: "Well, you know, the media spin on it is that it's somehow exculpated the pipeline. But still acknowledges that this is extremely dirty oil, that it's five times – in terms of carbon production – five times as bad at producing carbon as dirty as conventional fuels."

At one point, Kennedy paraphrased an assurance he got from the President regarding the pipeline:

And when I asked him to clarify that statement, he said, 'Look, the people who are promoting this pipeline are making tens of billions of dollars by using the pipeline rather than using railcars....If they come to me,' to President Obama, 'and show that they're going to use a large portion of those billions to somehow reduce carbon production around the globe so that the net impact of this pipeline is, in the end, going to be less in terms of carbon production than if we didn't build the pipeline, then I will listen to them and maybe make a deal.'"

Mitchell responded: "It sounds like that might be a compromise that they might come up with."

Wrapping up the exchange, after she described Kennedy's ranting as an "impassioned plea," Mitchell laughably proclaimed: "We of course will have people on all sides of this issue in coming days as well, as we did last week."

On Tuesday, Mitchell fretted that building the pipeline would damage Obama's "climate change legacy."

On the January 31 NBC Nightly News – just hours after the State Deparment study giving the pipeline go-ahead was released – Mitchell offered an entire report boosting environmentalist opposition to the project.

 Here is a transcript of Mitchell's February 7 exchange with Kennedy:

1:48PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: I don't know if you have a view yet on the document that the State Department released about the Keystone Pipeline on Friday, because many people who've read it, I've read it, have the impression that this could give a green light or remove a hurdle because it does say there would not be an appreciable effect, that the tarsands oils will be extracted with or without the pipeline. And it could give the President and the Secretary of State the ability to give the green light to the Keystone Pipeline.

ROBERT KENNEDY JR.: Well, you know, the media spin on it is that it's somehow exculpated the pipeline. But still acknowledges that this is extremely dirty oil, that it's five times – in terms of carbon production – five times as bad at producing carbon as dirty as conventional fuels.

The economic benefits to the United States are going to be practically nil. There are, according to even this document – which was written by a compromised group, Environmental Resource  Management, which did not disclose, illegally did not disclose its profound conflicts of interest with Trans Canada and with the American Petroleum Institute to the State Department as required by law prior to doing the environmental impact statement for the State Department –  but even that compromised document says that this – this pipeline, once its built, will only create 35 permanent jobs for the United States. There are going to be a couple of thousand jobs during the two-year period of construction, but other than that it's 35 jobs.

And we are then moving 830,000 barrels a day through the American heartland, through the most important water aquifer in our country. This is highly corrosive oil that's already shown its ability to eat through pipelines, contaminate rivers, and that we can't clean up.

The odd thing about this, and I think the thing, Andrea, that irks environmentalists most, is that – and particularly putting it in perspective to the previous statements by the Obama administration. Obama promised in June and again twice in July in public forums and once in a private dinner that I attended that he would not allow the construction of the Keystone Pipeline unless the promoters of that pipeline were able to demonstrate that there would be no net increase in global carbon.

And when I asked him to clarify that statement, he said, "Look, the people who are promoting this pipeline are making tens of billions of dollars by using the pipeline rather than using railcars. They're going to be able to sell their oil much quicker, and that's a big economic benefit. If they come to me," to President Obama, "and show that they're going to use a large portion of those billions to somehow reduce carbon production around the globe so that the net impact of this pipeline is, in the end, going to be less in terms of carbon production than if we didn't build the pipeline, then I will listen to them and maybe make a deal."

MITCHELL: It sounds like that might be a compromise that they might come up with. We're going to have to leave it there for now. I just want to point out that it is 50 jobs in the report. 3,900 temporary construction jobs and only 50, but we're talking about just a slight difference here but not nearly the thousands of jobs that they claimed were coming-

KENNEDY: Can I say one other thing, Andrea?

MITCHELL: Sure.

KENNEDY: President Obama has said in his State of the Union that he was going to use in his power – he understood that Congress was going to block any kind of initiative he did – so he was going to use his power to stop global warming by going around Congress, by going to the agencies, using executive power.

Well, the thing that really bothers environmentalists is this is the one issue where he could say no. He doesn't have to go to Congress for this. And the people who are promoting this are the Koch brothers, who spent $2 million trying to hurt him, the Tea Party people in Congress, and the Republicans who have been trying to block every part of his agenda. There's nobody who traditionally supported him or traditionally supported the interests of children or the environment or democratic civilization as we – you know, at our highest ideals, that wants this thing to happen. It's a catastrophe, and he needs to use his power to say – just say no.

MITCHELL: Robert Kennedy Jr., thank you very much. An impassioned plea against the pipeline. We of course will have people on all sides of this issue in coming days as well, as we did last week. Thank you very much, Bobby.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.