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In Nashua, Clinton Leaves Some Wanting More On Keystone Pipeline Stance

At a packed town hall event in Nashua Tuesday, Hillary Clinton reiterated her plan on how she would address climate change if elected president.

Clinton said her proposal calls for two “bold national goals:" One would increase the total number of solar panels to more than half a billion nationwide before the end of her first term. The other is to generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America within a decade.

Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR
Hundreds of people showed up hours in advance and bore the heat outside to get inside to attend Tuesday's town hall event in Nashua.

But when it came to a question on whether the country should move forward with building the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would run from Canada to the U.S., Clinton provided few specifics.

Clinton said her former role as Secretary of State prevented her from offering a clear stance on the proposed pipeline.  

“This is President Obama’s decision and I am not going to second guess him because I was in a position to set this in motion, and I do not think that would be the right thing to do. So I want to wait and see what he and Secretary Kerry decide. If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question,” Clinton said.

But Bruce Blodgett, a software architect from Amherst, who posed the question to Clinton said that response did not suffice. 

“It wasn’t an answer," Blodgett said.

Talking to the press later, Clinton again refused to provide a clear answer on the matter.

Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR
Hillary Clinton took several questions from the press after the event but didn't add any details on her stance on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“And I am sorry if people want me to. I have been very clear, I will not express an opinion until they have made a decision and then I will do so,” she told reporters.

Kaity Thomson, 23, of Dover works at 350 Action, an environmental activist group out of New Hampshire. Thomson, along with many other activists, say the Keystone Pipeline would result in oil spills, deforestation and toxic runoff. She also said the pipeline would contribute to the global threat of climate change.

Currently the State Department is revising its original opinion that the pipeline won’t harm the environment. A final decision is expected by the end of the year.

Thomson said if Clinton wants her vote she needs to give a firmer answer now. 

“Really, we are supposed to wait until she is president for one of the most important climate issues to be addressed? You know, the day of President Obama stepping down and the potential of Secretary Clinton stepping up is when she is going to tell us whether or not we voted for the right person,” Thomson said after the event.

Other Democratic candidates, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, have taken strong stances against the Keystone XL  Pipeline.

Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR
Emily Wall, 10, of Nashua got to ask the last question of the day.

But not everyone left Tuesday’s event put off by Clinton's approach to the issue.

“She amazed me; she had no notes, she seemed to answer all the questions very reasonably and with a great deal of knowledge,” said Pat Spaloss of Nashua.

And 10-year-old Emily Wall of Nashua, who got in the last question of the day, had a simple request for the candidate. 

“I would like to shake the hand of the first woman president of the United States," Wall asked.

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