State Department: sorry, Mr. President. The Keystone Pipeline can go ahead.

The Obama administration is rapidly running out of wiggle room on the Keystone pipeline:

The State Department’s long-awaited environmental report on the Keystone XL pipeline leaves President Barack Obama with no real scientific reason to reject the nation’s most fiercely debated energy project.

The sprawling 2,000-page report, released late Friday afternoon, doesn’t issue a clear yea or nay on a sprawling section of pipeline that would traverse from western Canada to Oklahoma. But the report’s key takeaways — including a conclusion that the project would have “no significant impacts to most resources along the proposed Project route” — Obama may have been hemmed in by his own State Department experts.


Politico went on to say “Environmentalists were left sputtering Friday…” over the decision, as if there was or is ever a moment when environmentalists are not sputtering, on Pavlovian cue. Although I’ll concede that they’d have their reasons to sputter, here: the best that the State Department could do to scuttle the project is to conclude that it’d have no real impact on the environment, one way or the other. Which makes perfect sense. Canada will be developing its oil sands, because Canada likes money and oil sands can be turned into lots of money without too much fuss and bother. We’ve known for quite some time how to move large amounts of liquids from Point A to Point B without spilling too much of it. Contra the Greenies, we’re not going to stop using hydrocarbons any time soon. The only question is: How much money is it going to cost American taxpayers to do all of this?

This is going to be a fun let’s-you-and-him fight to watch: the Obama administration has to pick which one of its special interest groups to offend. I suspect that Obama is personally and ideologically committed to the radical Greenies (who absolutely hate this project, for frankly theological reasons), but is professionally and pragmatically obligated to Big Labor (who absolutely want the jobs for their workers, so that they can get their cut). The dueling inclinations are pretty evenly matched, which is why a decision hasn’t been made yet; nobody in politics actually likes to have a Gordian Sword* like this looming over his head. But the time for dithering is ending, and somebody on the Democratic side will end up unhappy about the eventual Keystone decision. It is guaranteed.



Mind you, the Greenies are feeling very put-upon, these days: it’s not as good as the last decade, where people were rich enough to indulge them. So – assuming that Barack Obama has a rush of oxygen to the brain, and actually approves a project that will create jobs for a change – expect a certain amount of, ah, unhinged primal screaming from those charming would-be environmentalist theocrats in the coming months ahead. It’s already starting, in fact: I found this particular comment entertaining, in a somewhat horrified laughter sort of way. We really let people like this go out without a keeper?

Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford warned that “letting corporations get rich off of environmental devastation will make Obama’s climate rhetoric look like the worst kind of greenwashing.”

…letting corporations get rich off of scaremongering about environmental devastation, on the other hand? Yeah, that’s cool.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: OK, one last quote from the article: “After Friday’s setback, the pipeline’s opponents were left with one major option: appealing to Obama to live up to his climate promises.” …If you don’t know why that sentence made me laugh out loud, then you must not have been following American politics since 2008…

*If Barack Obama can mix his classical references, then so can I. And, to be fair: “Jedi Mind Meld” is on the same level of silliness as, say, “misunderestimated.” Although, when it comes to being a President, Barack Obama on his best day can’t match George W Bush on his worst.



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