The White House’s predicted date for when the president will finally approve (or disapprove, as the case may be) the Keystone XL pipeline has been steadily creepin’ back to later and later dates — by the latest count, we’re looking at the end of this summer/early fall — for no sincerely good reason whatsoever, given that multiple environmental impact studies have cleared the project for takeoff and that the United States already has a vast operational pipeline network crisscrossing the continent.
Of course, one very good political reason for continuing to delay is that the green lobby has managed to turn this into such a controversial and high-profile issue that it’s approval will be a turn-off to some potential Democratic donors, the same ones that President Obama is going to need to help him fundraise in full force to boost his fellow Democrats’ chances of retaking of Congress in next year’s midterm elections. Many Democrats will forgive the president for what he can’t do in the face of all that gosh darn Republican obstructionism going on in terms of gun control and spending and whatnot, but the stubbornly lingering Keystone pipeline decision is all on him, and capitulating on something he can definitely control might be too much to stay in the green lobby’s good graces. Via Politico:
Meanwhile, anti-Keystone activists are preparing to take a State Department hearing on the pipeline Thursday in Nebraska by storm. They’ve even organized a barbecue featuring “tar sands-free beef” from cattle raised along the proposed pipeline route and a prayer circle the night before the hearing.
And leading activists are trying to increase pressure on President Barack Obama to reject the pipeline, warning of dire political consequences if he gives the project the go-ahead.
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune told POLITICO that major Democratic donors are keeping a watchful eye on the president’s Keystone decision. An approval, he said, could hurt fundraising and make activists less inclined to campaign for Democrats facing reelection in 2014.
“We’re already seeing how Democratic donors are discovering the same thing that scientists and ranchers and farmers have, which is that this pipeline is a bad idea. There’s a growing sentiment among the Democratic donor base,” Brune said.
Obama “wants to have a Congress with more environmental champions and the midterms are coming very soon,” he added.
The Senate symbolically approved of the pipeline‘s construction last month, and the House GOP has their own plan in the works to deprive the president of authority to keep blocking the project. I doubt that any Democrats will want to go that far in getting the pipeline approved, but statement is made, and there is definitely bipartisan approval of the project in general:
House Republicans took the first step Tuesday toward forcing approval of Keystone XL pipeline, with a subcommittee passing a proposal that aims to green-light the massive project without President Obama’s approval.
The bill which is designed more to put pressure on the White House than to actually become law would strip the administration’s ability to block the Canada-to-Texas pipeline. The bill also would limit the number of future environmental-impact studies and streamline the judicial review process for legal challenges to the project.
“This is a big step forward,” Rep. Lee Terry, Nebraska Republican, told The Washington Times minutes after the measure sailed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and power subcommittee on a 17-9 vote. “I feel a great deal of momentum. I hear the momentum out there. People are just really saying they don’t understand the continued delays that are occurring. So, the people are behind this more than ever.”
Mr. Terry’s proposal now heads to the full committee and he predicted the Republican-controlled House could vote on the bill as early as next month.
Some Democrats, of course, are complaining that Republicans are giving the pipeline special treatment with all of the legislative attention they’re affording it. I fail to see why that’s inappropriate, seeing as how President Obama is also giving the project special treatment in the form of determinedly ignoring it for as long as he possibly can for purely political purposes. Riddle me that.