At the last update, I think we were somewhere in “earlyish 2014” territory (who can even keep up?) for the time frame in which the northern extension of the Keystone pipeline will be either approved or denied by President Obama, but by determinedly delaying on what should have/could have been a simple and bygone decision of his first term, the issue is now a ticking time bomb of highly publicized, faux-environmentalist outrageous outrage. I suppose that the dollars the president has been fundraising from well-monied, self-fancied “green” Democratic donors may have made the delay, delay, delay tactic worth it in the run-up to his reelection, but the inevitable blowup (no matter which way he chooses) is going to be all the huger because of it.

G.W. hasn’t weighed in on too many hot political topics post-presidency, but the right decision in regard to the pipeline proposal is almost too painfully obvious to even be able to avoid it:

Former President George W. Bush said the construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline should be a “no-brainer” given its boost to the American economy and job growth.

Speaking at the DUG East Conference with top executives from oil and gas companies, the 43rd president said that the pipeline’s construction from Canada to Texas would help put the focus back on the country’s private-sector of the economy, reports Desmogblog.com.

“I do think we’re underperforming economically, and I think the reason why is there’s not enough focus on private sector growth, said Bush. “I think the goal of the country ought to be: ‘How do we grow the private sector?’ That ought to be the laser-focus of any administration. And therefore, once that’s the goal, an issue like Keystone pipeline becomes a no-brainer.”

“If private sector growth is the goal and Keystone pipeline creates 20,000 new private sector jobs, build the damn thing,” he said to applause.

The eco-lobby will dispute that jobs number ’til the cows come home, but the bigger point here, as ever, is that the United States is going to need to start laying a lot more pipeline in the very near future in order to properly accommodate our burgeoning oil-and-gas boom — which absolutely does create jobs and economic growth. The Keystone pipeline’s proposed extension will transport Canadian products as well as those from North Dakota, and while the environmentalist crowd will also deride the pipeline as an enabler of those much-loathed Canadian oil sands in terms of their effect on climate change, they never seem to address the fact that those oil sands are coming out of the ground with or without the Keystone XL pipeline — but the pipeline is the most cost-effective, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly method of transporting them. Counterproductive, anyone?

As it happens, TransCanada is working on another possible pipeline project at the moment, and the Alaskans are pretty darn pumped about it:

An Alaska official said Monday the state is looking at taking a multibillion-dollar equity stake in a major natural gas pipeline project as a way to protect its interests and help make the long-hoped-for project a reality. …

The North Slope’s three major players — Exxon Mobil Corp., BP and ConocoPhillips — are working with TransCanada Corp. to advance a liquefied natural gas project that would be capable of overseas exports.

The proposed line would run 800 miles from the slope to south-central Alaska and could cost from $45 billion to more than $65 billion, according to company estimates. The companies haven’t committed to building it and have repeatedly said they needed competitive, predictable and durable terms on oil and gas taxes and royalties.

Alaskans have long dreamed of a gas line as a way to create jobs, provide energy for residents and shore up revenues as oil production declines. While there have been fits and starts over the years, state officials believe the current project has momentum, and Balash said it’s reaching the point where the state needs to start making decisions about its terms.