Now That He’s Out Of Excuses, Will Obama Approve The Keystone XL Pipeline?

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The State Department is winding up yet another review of the Keystone XL pipeline issue, and isn’t likely to produce anything all that different from previous reviews, and now the State of Nebraska has approved the route the pipeline will take through their state.

It seems President Obama is running out of excuses to sandbag this pipeline. Will he now approve it?

The environmental left is already bringing the pressure to bear on Obama:

Environmental groups hailed Obama’s new focus on climate change but said the president’s words will soon be tested as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

Obama blocked the pipeline last year, citing uncertainty over the project’s route through environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska. The State Department has federal jurisdiction because the $7 billion pipeline begins in Canada. …

“Starting with rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, the president must make fighting global warming a central priority,” Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America, said Monday.

Alt and other environmental leaders said they are counting on Obama to set tough limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and to continue federal investments in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

The politics of this situation aren’t quite as black and white as they’d seem. On the left, unions (who will be doing a lot of the work building the pipeline) want approval, but the environmentalists hate it (remember it was rumored that Obama’s EPA administrator quit over the pipeline). Obama also needs to be cognizant of certain Democrats from red states to whom the pipeline is important.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp, as one example, made standing up to Obama on the Keystone Pipeline issue specifically a hallmark of her campaign last year, which she won only by the narrowest of margins. With Heitkamp already probably needing to vote blue in the opening years of her term to cover for red-state Democrats up for re-election in 2014, she (like some other pro-energy Democrats) really needs a win on the pipeline from Obama. Especially given that the pipeline could, literally, save lives in North Dakota.

But what, really, does Obama have to loose? He never has to worry about getting re-elected again.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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