Obama again puts politics ahead of Keystone approval

April 24, 2014 

That metallic sound you hear is President Barack Obama again kicking the politically tough decision on the Keystone XL pipeline down the road.

This is embarrassing. The White House has all the information it needs to approve the pipeline yet once more has put politics ahead of policy, just as it has done on tax reform and immigration.

Keystone, under the microscope for about six years, is arguably the most studied oil pipeline project in American history. But each time a national election cycle approaches, the administration conjures a delay to avoid alienating key political allies on opposing sides of the issue.

Environmentalists oppose the pipeline; Big Labor favors it. Members of his party don’t want to be pinned down with the midterm elections on the horizon.

The latest delay came on Good Friday, ahead of a May deadline for federal agencies to complete additional reviews on the pipeline. This time the administration’s excuse is that the pipeline’s path in Nebraska is in limbo because a state judge invalidated legislation that let Nebraska’s governor approve the route.

Now neither side expects a decision until after the November midterm elections — and maybe not even then. After all, fast approaching is the 2016 election cycle. Obama sat on his hands in 2010 and 2011, then avoided a decision during his own re-election campaign in 2012.

The irony in all these delaying tactics is that Canadian companies already move oil-sands crude through the U.S. in other pipelines.

TransCanada Corp., the company behind the pipeline, has rerouted the pipeline around Nebraska’s environmentally sensitive region to answer environmental concerns. Also, a recent State Department study found that the pipeline would not produce a significant net increase in carbon emissions, a major cause of global climate change.

Eventually, Canada will tire of presidential obfuscation and build a pipeline to a Canadian port. From there, they’ll ship oil to China and India, cutting out U.S. refineries — and the jobs they provide.

The Dallas Morning News

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