WSJ: Keystone XL pipeline decision might come just before midterms

posted at 1:21 pm on January 24, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

The Obama administration’s interminable, entirely manufactured, hyper-politicized stalling — oh, excuse me, I’m sure I meant the extremely technical deliberative review process through which the State Department has been so earnestly and efficiently making steady progress, for five years — made all kinds of sense when President Obama himself was the one up for reelection. Despite the United States’ dearth of pipelines in the face of the burgeoning shale revolution and the obvious merits of collaborating on a pretty straightforward infrastructure project with one of our biggest trade partners, an approval would have risked sending shockwaves of (entirely misplaced) environmentalist disappointment and indignation through the ranks of his progressive base as well as some of his self-fancied “green” donors of the deep-pocketed California and Manhattan set.

With this year’s midterms, however, that electoral calculus could be changing: This year’s mission is to protect the handful of vulnerable red-state Democrats whose loss would mean a partisan turnover of the Senate. I’ve been wondering if the Obama administration intended to merely keep delaying the decision until after the depth of his final-stage lame-duckery had been fully determined, but the presidential seal of approval would give Republicans one less thing with which to hammer Democrats in states where energy is a major issue, like Alaska, Louisiana, and Montana.

If the president does actually want to make a decision in time to tip the midterms, the State Department seems to be setting him up, reports the WSJ:

The Obama administration is set to complete a critical phase of its Keystone XL pipeline review next month, setting the stage for President Barack Obama to make a call on the politically charged decision in the thick of the midterm campaign season.

The State Department, which has been studying the project for years, aims to release a report on the environmental impact of the proposed pipeline extension in early or mid-February, people inside and outside the government familiar with the decision said Thursday. That would put Mr. Obama on track to make a decision by May or June. …

One person familiar with the process at the State Department said the environmental-impact report will be crafted in a way that gives the president wide leeway to make a decision. Another official said the report is expected to be relatively vague, so Mr. Obama would be able to cite it to support a decision for or against the pipeline.

Perhaps sensing the possibility of impending doom for the cause on which they have so inexplicably chosen to put a stake in the ground, eco-radical groups have been pushing the president to reaffirm and deepen his commitment to his climate-change agenda and further punish fossil fuels in the past few weeks — but we’ll have to wait and see. If Obama does decide to kill the project, I doubt that those same senators will hesitate to come out swinging against the administration on yet another front, hard:

Some Senate Democrats locked in tough re-election fights, among them Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, have said they might file legislation seeking to overturn the ruling if Mr. Obama reject the pipeline.

“At the end of the day, we may just have to push this issue pretty hard,” Mr. Begich said in an interview.


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Check the increase in cost of propane from the beginning of the week till now. Not good.

Bmore on January 24, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Get the campaign cash from the hippies upfront and then pivot to help the red state Democrats right before the election.

Have your cake and eat it too.

Build the damn thing, already.

blammm on January 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

One person familiar with the process at the State Department said the environmental-impact report will be crafted in a way that gives the president wide leeway to make a decision. Another official said the report is expected to be relatively vague, so Mr. Obama would be able to cite it to support a decision for or against the pipeline.

What’s the point of an environmental-impact report if it’s not supposed to come to an actionable conclusion?

blammm on January 24, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Side comment regarding the website:

The video advertisements on this website are really getting annoying. Seems like every time you open a page here there is a video that automatically starts playing with sound. And when you have a bunch of windows and tabs open you have to go searching for where the advertisement is coming from and turn it off or close the page. Can this website please not use these type of auto loading video advertisements with sound?

gumble on January 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

It’s warm in Kenya. Who needs a pipeline?

acyl72 on January 24, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Typical for this administration. Do what is political advantageous and not what is in the interest of the people. Just got a fill-up of propane gas for heating my house and it is @ $4.65/Gal. Why are we exporting propane to other counties?

NYT report

Wade on January 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM

barry’s a stain on us.

crash72 on January 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM

This thing is already up and running right near my house and I haven’t died, yet.

The deer are still running around.

The bass fishing is pretty good.

What’s the freakin’ problem?

trigon on January 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Side comment regarding the website:

The video advertisements on this website are really getting annoying.

gumble on January 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Second the above.

And would like to add, if the videos weren’t annoying enough, in addition to slowing the loading of the page now they are causing browsers to freeze when navigating away from the page due to some script being busy.

agmartin on January 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM

gumble and agmartin, try this. Do not track. Works most times on most browsers.

Bmore on January 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

I think Canada will probably tell us to “pound sand, hoser…eh” long before then.

NavyMustang on January 24, 2014 at 1:53 PM

WSJ: Keystone XL pipeline decision might come just before midterms

WHEN PIGS FLY!

King Barack will probably insist on ‘further studies’ that will last until AFTER the mid-terms.

GarandFan on January 24, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Another official said the report is expected to be relatively vague, so Mr. Obama would be able to cite it to support a decision for or against the pipeline.

Its really amazing that they can wasting millions of dollars on a report that will essentially say, its up to you boss. Anytime I hear something like this I always think back to the closing scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark…”Top men” and everything is lost in a sea of bureaucracy.

tommer74 on January 24, 2014 at 1:57 PM

What videos? /S :) Seriously, I run AdBlock Plus and it apparently blocks those things.

Old Dog on January 24, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Worst president ever…for the country as a whole. For his buddies best president.

jukin3 on January 24, 2014 at 2:01 PM

“At the end of the day, we may just have to push this issue pretty hard,” Mr. Begich said in an interview.

Why the hell aren’t they already crafting such legislation right now?

elowe on January 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Second the above.

And would like to add, if the videos weren’t annoying enough, in addition to slowing the loading of the page now they are causing browsers to freeze when navigating away from the page due to some script being busy.

agmartin on January 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Triple the above! I am on satellite and it really screws me up sometimes.

Johnnyreb on January 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM

What’s the point of an environmental-impact report if it’s not supposed to come to an actionable conclusion?

blammm on January 24, 2014 at 1:31 PM

So that Obama can… [see_blammm's_comment_directly_above_yours].

(But you knew that already.)

Tsar of Earth on January 24, 2014 at 2:08 PM

I hate to say it, but until I complete The Project in the Tsar’s Palace (my Mom’s basement), energy prices will ratchet up only, no matter what we do because of export demand. Except unless I complete The Project.

Tsar of Earth on January 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Why bother deciding? It’d not like the administration of thugs, creeps and criminal liars are going to agree to it. Politics uber alles for this crowd of America-haters.

ExpressoBold on January 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM

This seems to be a battle between 2 moneyed interests: Buffet and his trains (now used to transport the crude) and the refiners who have extra refinery capacity to refine the crude and then sell the products abroad because the market in the TX area is full. Strangely, they don’t want to pipe the Keystone crude to the rust belt or east coast where we are still importing crude or delivering it by train. (according to the govt we are still importing 40% of our crude).

KenInIL on January 24, 2014 at 2:50 PM

This seems to be a battle between 2 moneyed interests: Buffet and his trains (now used to transport the crude) and the refiners who have extra refinery capacity to refine the crude and then sell the products abroad because the market in the TX area is full. Strangely, they don’t want to pipe the Keystone crude to the rust belt or east coast where we are still importing crude or delivering it by train. (according to the govt we are still importing 40% of our crude).

KenInIL on January 24, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Actually, the Keystone XL pipeline WOULD deliver crude to the “rust belt”. It makes a beeline from Alberta to the junction of two existing pipelines in southeastern Nebraska. One of them leads south to the Houston area, but the other leads east across Missouri toward refineries along the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois. If the Keystone XL pipeline were built, crude piped to these refineries would be cheaper than foreign crude carried by barge up the Mississippi River from New Orleans.

BTW, there is a lot of crude oil produced in North Dakota, where there are neither refineries nor pipelines. Have any of the geniuses in the Obysmal administration thought about approving a permit for a refinery in ND or a pipeline from ND to an existing refinery?

Steve Z on January 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

“…just before midterms…”
I won’t be holding my breath.

Another Drew on January 24, 2014 at 3:36 PM

“…approving a permit for a refinery in ND…”
Steve Z on January 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Laugh?
I thought I’d never start!

Another Drew on January 24, 2014 at 3:39 PM

If the drillers in the Bakken want to get their crude to market at the lowest possible cost, they need to build a pipeline into Canada, where it can be transported to West Coast ports in BC by the pipeline that will be built in place of KXL.

Another Drew on January 24, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Steve Z on January 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM
BTW, there is a lot of crude oil produced in North Dakota, where there are neither refineries nor pipelines. Have any of the geniuses in the Obysmal administration thought about approving a permit for a refinery in ND or a pipeline from ND to an existing refinery?

Three refineries are to be built. the ground has been broken for the firast one. Looks like, so far, US government approval is not needed. Of course the US EPA may cause problems.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/10/us-usa-bakken-refinery-idUSBRE9390CA20130410

amr on January 24, 2014 at 4:04 PM

gumble and agmartin, try this. Do not track. Works most times on most browsers.

Bmore on January 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Except it also causes the android smartphone to freeze and cash. Instead of putting the onus on us to block their sh!t how about scripting the ads to NOT autorun in the 1st place? This is totally HA’s own doing. Disrespect of their own base – much like the GOPe’s disdain for conservatives. Monkey see, monkey doo-doo on us.

AH_C on January 24, 2014 at 7:58 PM

If a decision does come before the midterms (and I doubt it will) it can only mean Obama will turn it down. He won’t torque off the base just before the election.

jnelchef on January 25, 2014 at 1:13 PM