The U.S. State Department last Friday finally released its final environmental report on the Keystone XL pipeline, which confirmed the landmark jobs and energy project was safe and would not significantly impact the environment. The report made similar conclusions to the agency’s previous reports, stating, “[A]pproval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States.” In June, President Obama signaled that his decision on the project would hinge on this very question, stating “[O]ur national interest will be served only if this project does not exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” So what’s he waiting for? The State Department, under the leadership of both Secretary Hillary Clinton and Secretary John Kerry, has found no reason to oppose the project that it determined would support over 42,000 jobs.
In response to the final report, Republicans, Democrats, and leading editorial boards called on the president to end the delays and approve the project immediately. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) expressed, “To kick off his ‘year of action,’ President Obama should use his pen and approve the permit without any further delay. After enduring over five years of review, there is absolutely no reason to keep the American people waiting another day.”
Jan. 21, 2014
Approve Keystone. Now.
So the wait on the Keystone XL pipeline is over.
However, the State Department did release its final environmental impact report today. And what did it say? That the pipeline will not increase carbon emissions much, which is exactly what previous reports also found.
So what’s changed? Well, with this report, President Barack Obama can give the pipeline the go-ahead. In 90 days.
All that’s left in the bureaucratic process is for the administration to decide whether the pipeline is in the U.S.’s “national interest.” In the coming month, the public will be invited to comment on the project, and the same eight federal agencies that have already weighed in will have 60 days beyond that to weigh in again. It’s doubtful anyone will have anything new to add.
The pluses and minuses have been clear for a long time, as has the fact that the former outweigh the latter. …
Keystone will carry more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day — some of it from North Dakota — to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Pipeline opponents often say that, in the name of fighting climate change, the Canadian crude should stay in the ground. Sure. But that’s not going to happen. Canada is committed to extracting the oil. As long as there are buyers, it will make its way to market however it can — by train, truck, ship or another pipeline. …
There was a time when it made political sense for Obama to delay a decision… But now the votes are in — both for the president and, surely, for the pipeline. Further delay would just keep a poisonous debate alive.
Read the full editorial online HERE.
February 1, 2014
No More Keystone Excuses
Obama’s choice: the green 1% or new and well-paying union jobs.