Skip to comments.Pressure builds on Obama with looming Keystone deadline
Posted on 01/11/2012 5:14:36 AM PST by thackney
A looming deadline for a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is ratcheting up political pressure on President Barack Obama, who will anger key supporters regardless of his decision.
Calgary-based TransCanada Corp.s proposed 1,700-mile pipeline would carry tar-sands crude from Alberta to Texas refineries in Port Arthur and Houston.
It appeared late last year that the administration had found a way to delay the permitting decision past this years election. But the pipelines Republican supporters raised the stakes by negotiating inclusion of a 60-day decision deadline as part of the two-month payroll tax cut extension enacted Dec. 23.
The Feb. 21 deadline forces Obama to choose between the wishes of two key constituencies environmentalists and some Democratic fundraisers who oppose the pipeline, and some labor unions that support it as a job-maker.
The decision on a permit technically rests with the State Department because the pipeline would cross the U.S.-Canada border, although Obama said last year that he might make the final decision himself. A decision had been expected by the end of 2011.
In November, the State Department said it would delay the pipeline decision until after the 2012 election, citing the need to study alternative routes that avoid a drinking- water aquifer in Nebraska.
Republicans trumped that move by tying the Keystone deadline to the payroll tax cut extension and including a provision allowing Nebraska and TransCanada time to find an alternative route in the state if Keystone XL is approved.
TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said that if the pipeline is approved, the company could start building other portions of it during the selection and evaluation of its route through Nebraska.
But Anthony Swift, staff lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which opposes Keystone XL, said it would be illegal for the U.S. to approve the pipeline without knowing and studying the final Nebraska route.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said last week that the department will make an appropriate decision consistent with relevant law.
Cunha declined to say what TransCanada will do if the administration rejects the pipeline.
It could reapply, making changes to address the basis of the rejection, but the revised application would have to go through the same lengthy review process, said William Bumpers, a lawyer with Washington-based Baker Botts who has represented energy companies.
Republicans say construction of the pipeline would create 20,000 jobs and make America more energy secure.
The American Petroleum Institute, an oil-industry group leading an election-year campaign to push Americans to vote on the basis of energy issues, warned of major consequences for Obama if Keystone XL is rejected.
Pipeline opponents are running their own campaigns, contending the project would create at most 6,000 temporary jobs, promote an especially dirty form of oil and possibly pollute groundwater.
Swift, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said pipeline opponents are spotlighting information that they believe is not getting enough attention rejecting, for example, proponents contention that the pipeline would reduce reliance on foreign oil.
Effect on imports?
They point to a government study that found Keystone wouldnt affect U.S. oil imports from Canada through 2030.
Swift also said Gulf refiners, such as San Antonio-based Valero, could export their refined products and enjoy tax benefits.
Valero spokesman Bill Day said, however, that crude from Keystone XL would be mixed with oil from other sources at Valeros Port Arthur refinery, and that most of that refinerys production goes to domestic uses.
Its unfortunate that its become a political issue rather than an economic issue, Day said.
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That is just an insane claim. To bring in more oil and claim it won't effect? Look at the options after more oil comes in. Reduce imports, Reduce domestic oil production, idle refineries. No effect?!?!?!
What will the Wookie do?
Damned if she does. Damned if she doesn’t ....... that will piss her off into retributive wrath and rage
My prediction: Hussein approves the pipeline, then three months down the road uses any excuse he can muster to halt the work. Same thing he did with oil drilling in the ocean a couple years ago. He approved it, then the Deepwater Horizon accident, and he halted it all.
I feel very confident in saying POSnobamascumbag will figure a way to wiggle out of this. And I guarantee his efforts will not help our energy deficit.
The environmental hearings will be fast tracked, as will the construction. The Chinese are happy.
A “government study...” ?
Meaning, yet another study, that might look just like several previous studies, but is actually different, in that we didn’t get the results we wanted during the prior studies.
Do you remember the definition of an AlGorerithm?
n. a mathematical operation which is repeated many times until it converges to the desired result. Previously attempted use in counting votes in Florida.
And used successfully to steal a senate seat in Minnesota.
I think what is being referred to here is the fact that Canadian imported oil would have the effect of reducing Middle Eastern imported oil? If so, then aggregate imported petroleum would remain the same.
It's really not clear is it?
The moment he approves the pipeline two things occur: first, union rank and file will be happy, and environmentalists will be angry. The opposite will occur if he halts the work after he has set things in motion, except then the unions will be even angrier than the enviros were to begin with.
I'm not sure there's a win for him here either way. This is the proverbial rock and hardplace.
I don't know how to quantify how many enviros there are versus union members who would vote based on this issue.
I think he approves the pipeline, and moves on, because CONSUMERS outnumber union members and enviros put together.
All of this is moot. Obama will simply ignore the deadline and make no decision at all. And who will say anything about it? Boehner? Congress? The man knows his days are numbered. The shredding of the Constitution will begin in earnest.