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The writing is on the wall for Keystone XL

Posted Jan. 17, 2012 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

The writing is on the wall for rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. But given recent oil industry efforts to make it appear otherwise, I thought it might be useful to provide a reminder that leading Obama administration officials and their allies are on the record: the rushed and arbitrary deadline required by December's payroll tax bill must lead to pipeline rejection.

The State Department said in a statement that, "Should Congress impose an arbitrary deadline for the permit decision, its actions would not only compromise the process, it would prohibit the Department from acting consistently with National Environmental Policy Act requirements. In the absence of properly completing the process, the Department would be unable to make a determination to issue a permit for this project."

Gene Sperling, senior economic adviser to President Obama, said:

The experts at the State Department who are authorized for our government to make that very serious and complex review made clear -- that if they were only given 60 days to look at the alternative routes in Nebraska and to do the serious environmental and health and safety reviews, that would (not) be enough time, and would make it almost certainly impossible for them to extend that permit.

Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director, said:

The House bill simply shortens the review process in a way that virtually guarantees that the pipeline will NOT be approved.

Jay Carney, White House press secretary, said:

It would be very difficult, as I understand it, for the State Department to say that that review had been responsibly achieved in 60 days.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said:

They've just killed the Keystone pipeline. They killed it because they forced the president to make a decision before he can make it so he's not going to move forward with it.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said:

The bottom line is that Secretary of State Clinton has said that if they rush the process, they're going to end the pipeline. ... And the president is totally on board with that strategy.

Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said:

The president is apparently just going to use the option given to him not to let it go (forward). There's a waiver in there which we understand the president is going to exercise.

Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said:

I think it's shortsighted for the Republicans to force a decision without giving the president enough time to fully consider it. And if they force him to do that, it'd seem to me, the only logical thing for him to do is to say no to it.

The Keystone XL pipeline would be dirty at both ends -- for communities already reeling from the impacts of tar sands mining in Canada to communities living near refineries that would process the oil in Texas. Everywhere in between it would threaten farmland, water resources and people's livelihoods. And the tar sands oil it would carry threatens to push us over the brink of climate catastrophe.

As if that were not reason enough to reject the pipeline, members of Congress doing the bidding of the oil industry have made it categorically impossible for the Obama administration to complete a full, independent and fair review of these potentially devastating impacts.

It's no surprise to see the oil lobby playing politics with the Keystone XL review. Thankfully, the administration and members of Congress are calling its bluff.

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