Kerry: I’m approaching the Keystone XL pipeline with a totally blank slate
posted at 8:51 pm on March 13, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Of course, there’s nothing else he can really say on the matter; I’ll take a wild, flying guess that deep in his climate-change crusading heart (“In a sense, climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction — perhaps even the worlds most fearsome weapon of mass destruction,” hem hem), he’d love to see the Keystone XL pipeline shot down in a progressive blaze of anti-fossil fuel glory. Admitting to it, though, wouldn’t be very pragmatic at the moment — the Obama administration is in the throes of a big enough political quandary as it is without Kerry putting his foot in it. There have been reports that President Obama has warned everybody on down the line not to take a public stance on the pipeline, because the decision of whether to abide by the vast majority of Americans who support the project or the small, well-monied, and Democratically-donating minority who vocally oppose it will be made by him alone, and it’s best to just keep everything under wraps until then:
During a hearing on the State Department’s 2015 budget, Ms. Landrieu, a Democrat who has been a strong pipeline proponent and faces a tough re-election fight this year, pressed Mr. Kerry to approve the project, which would carry crude from Canada’s oil sands and from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale Formation to Gulf Coast refineries.
Ms. Landrieu, the new chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee, said, “Canada is our closest, strongest trading partner,” and “a majority of American people” support Keystone. “It is hard for me to understand why there are still questions about whether building this pipeline is in our national interest,” she said.
Mr. Kerry, who is currently reviewing whether the pipeline is in the national interest, assured Ms. Landrieu that he is looking at the issue objectively.
“I understand it’s on a lot of people’s minds, a mean a lot of people’s,” said Mr. Kerry, who noted that he has to review public comments along with his department’s lengthy environmental impact report and must “get feedback from eight different agencies.”
“So I’m not at liberty to go into my thinking at this point,” he said, adding, that he is approaching the matter “tabula rasa.”
President Obama reportedly told a group of governors a few weeks ago that “he anticipates an answer one way or the other in a couple months,” and if that was the honest truth and not just another vague dismissal, then I’m inclined to think that the decision is going to be a “yes.” A victory on such a high-profile and bipartisan issue could go a long way in helping out some vulnerable Senate Democrats in the midterms — like the aforementioned Mary Landrieu.