The Washington Post editorial board excoriated the Obama administration for holding up the Keystone XL pipeline [emphasis mine]:
If foot-dragging were a competitive sport, President Obama and his administration would be world champions for their performance in delaying the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Last Friday afternoon, the time when officials make announcements they hope no one will notice, the State Department declared that it is putting off a decision on Keystone XL indefinitely — or at least, it seems, well past November’s midterm elections. This time, the excuse is litigation in Nebraska over the proposed route, because that might lead to a change in the project that various federal agencies will want to consider. The State Department might even decide to substantially restart the environmental review process. This is yet another laughable reason to delay a project that the federal government has been scrutinizing for more than five years.
As for the pipeline’s routing, planners and regulators have already considered all sorts of options through Nebraska, and they already shifted the route once. Neither route posed environmental concerns of a sort that would justify concluding that Keystone XL is outside the national interest. It is bizarre to imagine that a new route from an even more careful process in Nebraska would significantly increase environmental concerns.
The administration’s latest decision is not responsible; it is embarrassing. The United States continues to insult its Canadian allies by holding up what should have been a routine permitting decision amid a funhouse-mirror environmental debate that got way out of hand. The president should end this national psychodrama now, bow to reason, approve the pipeline and go do something more productive for the climate.
That will leave a mark.
- 78% agree that the pipeline would improve America’s energy security by helping to create jobs.
- 78% believe that the pipeline is in America’s national interest because it would increase North American oil supplies.
- 67% say that if the United States has to import oil, they would like to see more of it come from Canada rather than other foreign countries.
- 68% say they’re more likely to support a candidate who supports the pipeline.
UPDATE: This political cartoon illustrates how these delays have become a farce.
EDITORS NOTE: The features photo of sections of pipe for the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma in 2013 was taken by photographer Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.