Eleven Senate Democrats making a fresh push for a deadline on the Keystone XL pipeline

If, as he hinted not too long ago, President Obama really is planning on approving the Keystone XL pipeline before this November’s elections, he apparently has yet to let Senate Democrats in on that little secret (or, maybe he has, and they’re taking the opportunity to starkly differentiate themselves from him and his politically toxic policies regardless), but either way: For all of the raging against supposed Congressional obstructionism and gridlock that the White House does, Keystone XL is so beyond bipartisan it’s just stupid.

Nearly a dozen Senate Democrats, including five up for re-election this year, are pressing President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and they say they want a decision by the end of next month. …

Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Warner of Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska, who all face tight races this November, signed the letter, which urges Mr. Obama to put in place an explicit timeline to decide on the project and to make a final decision by May 31. …

“This process has been exhaustive in its time, breadth, and scope,” the Democrats wrote. “It has already taken much longer than anyone can reasonably justify. This is an international project that will provide our great friend and ally Canada, a direct route to our refineries.” …

The letter, organized by Ms. Landrieu, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, also included Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Montana’s Jon Tester and John Walsh.

The Democrats are shooting for May 31st because that would give the Obama administration a few weeks to ‘deliberate’ after the 90-day inter-agency review period of the State Department’s environmental impact report ends (you know, the environmental impact report that once again cleared the pipeline of the eco-radicals’ hysterically trumped-up charges about the pipeline route exacerbating carbon emissions). I still think President Obama is waiting to approve the pipeline until he can find the opportune moment between wringing all of the Democratic campaign donations he can from the wealthy “green” aristocrat crowd and giving these vulnerable red-state Democrats a pre-midterms boost — if he actually does approve the pipeline at all, that is — but whether Obama ultimately decides to give a win to his fellow Democrats or not, the greens’ weirdly impractical, ultimate goal of discouraging more fossil fuels from coming out of the ground has already been thwarted.

After so many delays, many have stopped guessing about the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, yet a surge of new options and a belief that environmental challenges are being overcome is fuelling a renewed sense of optimism in the Canadian oil and gas industry.

With rail transportation of oil standing ready to fill any pipeline transportation gaps, liquefied natural gas plans on the West Coast moving closer to reality, shale gas and tight oil plays growing by leaps and bounds, oil and gas prices firming up at attractive levels, geopolitical tensions favouring growth of North American oil and gas supplies, and companies upping their game to address environmental concerns, the gloom that hung over the sector due to worries Canada’s oil and gas production would be stranded is fading.

The change in mood was palpable at an investment conference Thursday and Friday organized by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Scotiabank, which attracted twice the attendance of the same event in December 2012, showing investors are sharing in that optimism, said CAPP President David Collyer.