Is the Obama administration is really trying to push their decision on the rather inconvenient political conundrum into which the Keystone XL pipeline has metastasized past the 2014 midterms? …I wouldn’t rule it out — they’ve put the country through more than five years of continuous ‘administrative’ delays already, so heck, why not just keep letting that pony run? Via Bloomberg:
Analysts are divided over how an administrationwide review of energy policy that will focus on infrastructure might affect the Obama administration’s decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.
The review, ordered via a presidential memo Jan. 9, provides the “perfect cover” to delay a decision on the pipeline until after the midterm congressional election in November, according to Steven Paget, an analyst for Calgary, Canada-based FirstEnergy Capital.
But other analysts, such as Christi Tezak, managing director for Washington-based ClearView Energy Partners, told Bloomberg BNA that President Barack Obama’s remarks over the summer that he would approve the pipeline only “if it does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution” is already “enough cover.”
“We are hard-pressed to envision what information would arise from the [review] that hasn’t already been more exhaustively compiled” in the State Department’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Tezak said.
But if continuing to delay rather than make the tough political choice is really their grand master plan, they shouldn’t count on the pipeline’s advocates easing up the pressure in any shape, manner, or form. The industry, Canada, and bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress have tried to persuade, cajole, and pressure the administration into finally ending everyone’s misery, and at least two energy-focused senators from both sides of the aisle aren’t planning on letting up. Via The Hill:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) wants President Obama to get on board with her push for lifting the U.S. ban on crude exports and approving the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. …
“While I believe you retain the executive authority necessary to lift the ban on crude exports, if you need legislative support from the Congress in order to do so, you will always have a willing partner from Alaska,” Murkowski wrote in the letter on Tuesday.
“The Keystone XL pipeline, which the State Department estimated would support over 42,000 jobs, remains unapproved even after years of delay, the letter states. “I once again urge you to take immediate action on these infrastructure projects, which you have generally promised to champion.”
And via RCP:
Sen. Joe Manchin, speaking at a forum on U.S. energy policy sponsored by RealClearPolitics and America’s Power, challenged his own party on a range of energy-related issues Wednesday.
The West Virginia lawmaker warned that if the Obama administration failed to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, fellow Democrats could face electoral consequences in the upcoming midterm elections.
“It makes it harder for a Democrat to defend some of the Washington Democrat’s agenda,” Manchin said, adding that President Obama’s delay in deciding the pipeline’s fate “just doesn’t make any sense, none at all.”
“This has truly, strong bipartisan support in the Senate and in the House. … And why the president and the administration [are] hunkered down and not moving forward is beyond my understanding.”
That makes two of us, senator.