Having previously told environmentalist critics that she would take a position on the Keystone XL Pipeline "when [she] become[s] president," Hillary Clinton has officially announced her opposition to its construction.
After nearly 5 years spent waffling on the issue, Clinton has finally taken a firm stance, but why now, and just what about the proposed plan has earned Clinton's disapproval? Perhaps it was the U.S. State Department's finding that the pipeline's "impact on the climate would be minimal," or maybe Clinton is opposed to the project's estimated 42,000 construction jobs and $3.4 billion boost to the U.S. economy.
Clinton's reasoning is not immediately evident, but she may have seen an opportunity to cash in on some of the political benefits from the far left of the Democratic Party that opposition to the pipeline has afforded Bernie Sanders, who continues to challenge her presumptive status as the party's presidential nominee. Her timely opposition to the deal is likely little more than a transparent appeal to members of the country's liberal wing who have lauded her announcement.
The Chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, said it best when he called Clinton's insistence that her work on Keystone, while serving as secretary of state, prevented her from taking a position on the issue "blatantly dishonest." He went on to suggest that Clinton's "rapid decline in the polls and the prospect of the Vice President entering the race caused her to change course."