Thursday, January 19, 2012

When Push Becomes Shove

President Obama rejected the application for the Keystone XL pipeline yesterday. That gladdens the hearts of those of us who would rather not see oil gushing across the plains of Nebraska, and it also shows that Mr. Obama doesn’t give in to some very intense pressure from the Republicans in Congress.

Earlier today, I received the Secretary of State’s recommendation on the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.

This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people. I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.

As you’ll recall, part of the deal for extending the payroll tax cut was that the Obama administration had to make a decision on the pipeline right away. They thought, based on prior history, that the president would cave and grant the permission for the pipeline, thus handing them an election year gift for both the energy lobby and the wrath of the environmentalists. Well, oops.

The pipeline is not completely dead. The administration left the door open for another try via another route, but for the moment it is off the table. The GOP can rant, but they are the ones who bet on it as a way to box in the president, and they lost. Heh.