An addendum to yesterday’s post about the eleven Senate Democrats trying to make some noise about the Keystone XL pipeline before their tough reelection contests and push President Obama into committing to a deadline after more than five years of exaggerated and exhaustive review: The White House wasn’t having it.
White House press secretary Jay Carney attempted to sideline any noise that President Obama would establish a hard deadline for his decision on the Keystone XL pipeline Thursday.
“Our position on that process hasn’t changed, which is that it needs to run its appropriate course without interference from the White House or Congress,” Carney said to reporters. “It was because of actions taken by Republicans in Congress that one delay was caused in the process already.”
“So that review continues at the State Department, where it’s housed in accordance with past practice of previous administrations of both parties. And when there’s a decision to be announced, it will be announced,” Carney said.
And vulnerable red-state Sen. Mary Landrieu, in her own turn, wasn’t having that. Whether she’s raising the roof on this because a Keystone XL pipeline approval would be super helpful for her campaign, or because chastising and differentiating herself from President Obama is super helpful for her campaign, or both, she is definitely looking to make this a huge not-ObamaCare issue:
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is threatening to push legislation to speed the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, unless the Obama administration agrees to set a firm deadline for deciding the fate of the project.
She also plans to hold a hearing in May on building North America into an energy powerhouse, which will take a hard look at Keystone, an aide to Landrieu said in an email on Friday.
Also on Friday, I think it’s safe to say environmentalist groups are panicking about what looks like the increasingly likely possibility President Obama will use a Keystone XL pipeline approval to try and deliver a pre-midterm bump to his fellow Democrats (although, the small but well-monied and hysterically vocal minority might actually make an approval a drawback after all, so who even knows). They’re still looking for any excuse possible to draw out this review process and discredit the project’s all too obvious net benefits:
Opponents of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline called again Friday on the Obama administration assess the project’s potential affects on public health before reaching a final decision. The request comes amid growing public and political support for the proposed pipeline between Canada and the United States.
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), two of the Senate’s most liberal members and most ardent environmentalists, originally requested a public health study in late February but announced Friday that groups including the American Public Health Association and the National Association of County and City Health Officials were joining their push for the study. …
“We feel that children and families in the United States have a right to know how greatly expanding the importation of tar sands into our country is going to affect their lives,” Boxer told reporters as she announced the partnership with health professionals.