by Max Brantley
Reports are popping up all over that the Obama administration this afternoon will reject the Keystone pipeline proposal. Congressional Republicans forced a short time-span for consideration that the administration said wasn't adequate to consider important environmental issues in the route.
I'm surprised the thunder of Republican press releases hasn't begun yet. They will continue their gross exaggeration of job impact and local Republicans will focus on the 60 part-time workers at a Little Rock pipe plant who'll be affected. Shouldn't be long.
Note that the pipeline company can reapply. A new route should bypass a sensitive portion of Nebraska, a routing stoutly opposed by Nebraska Republicans. It won't address concerns about the material being shipped.
The National Wildlife Federation has some fact-based analysis you aren't likely to see in a Griffin-Womack-Crawford-Boozman news release.
Sen. Mark Pryor beat local Republicans to the punch with a release objecting to the president's decision:
I strongly disagree with President Obama’s decision to postpone the Keystone pipeline project. This project will sustain and create jobs in the United States. I also believe that in this day and age it can be done in a way that protects the environment
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin later lamented sending oil to China (though there's no guarantee goods refined in the U.S. will stay here) and impact on Little Rock jobs (though Keyston isn't the only pipeline on which Welspun is a supplier).
The pipeline company, by the way, has said it WILL reapply and that it WILL work to fix the route through Nebraska, as Republicans there had insisted. Republicans here preferred to trash the Nebraska water supply to avoid — maybe — temporary layoffs of 60 part-time Arkansas workers.
The Center for American Progress praised Obama's decision:
President Barack Obama’s denial of the Keystone XL pipeline permit recognizes that Canadian tar sands oil—bringing pollution but relatively few American jobs while exporting the oil to China and other countries—is not the future of American energy. His insistence on knowing the impact before the pipeline is approved is the safest decision to protect Americans along its route by ensuring the pipeline won’t pollute their air and water before it’s reviewed by those with the expertise to conduct such an assessment without bias—not the foreign oil companies or their lobbyists who stand to profit. It is like getting medical tests and a second opinion before deciding on the appropriate treatment, from a doctor and not a drug company.
Republican congressional leaders want to ram through a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline in 60 days for a route that hasn’t even been chosen yet, without any analysis. Any attempt to prematurely force this pipeline approval ignores the damaging pipeline spills in Michigan, Montana, and elsewhere over the last few years, not to mention the inevitable increase in harmful carbon dioxide pollution. They want to write a blank check to a big foreign oil company at the expense of American families who face serious public health risks should the construction and operation of the Keystone pipeline move forward.
Today President Obama made a courageous decision that says that special interests will not decide our clean energy future.