I’ve wondered before about how this new, more “flexible” second-term Obama is going to approach climate change, energy policy, and environmental isues — I remain unconvinced that “all of the above” was anything more than a rhetorical stalling tactic. I’m betting that we’re going to see President Obama’s more zealous nature re-reveal itself — and the Keystone XL pipeline battle that the administration left unresolved before the election is likely to force the issue pretty quick here.
Environmentalists (who long ago determined that the pipeline proposal warranted their especial fanatical attention) are planning demonstrations in DC next week to ask the administration to axe the whole thing. A bipartisan group of lawmakers, however, sent a letter to the White House today reiterating their vociferous support for the project, via The Hill:
In a letter to the president, sent Friday, a group of 18 senators urged Obama to create thousands of jobs by approving the pipeline, which would transport oil from North Dakota and Montana through the United States for processing at refineries in Texas and Louisiana.
“Setting politics aside: Nothing has changed about the thousands of jobs that Keystone XL will create,” the letter stated. “Nothing has changed about the energy security to be gained through an important addition to the existing pipeline network built with sound environmental stewardship and the best modern technology. Nothing has changed about the security to be gained from using more fuel produced at home and by a close and stable ally. And nothing has changed about the need for America to remain a place where businesses can still build things.” …
“The election is over, people want us to work together to create jobs, and one sure way we can create jobs right now is by moving forward with construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline,” Baucus said in a statement Friday. “We’ve spent more than four years producing studies and addressing environmental and property concerns — there’s no excuse to keep Keystone jobs on hold any longer.”
The project has passed every environmental benchmark the administration has thrown at it, and lawmakers’ refusal to let the issue die underscores just how much of an economic boon the pipeline would be to the states through which it would pass. Can the Obama administration really afford to let such an opportunity for jobs, economic growth, and energy security to pass them by? It’ll be amazing to see what kind of excuses they try to throw at us if they do.