And that, of course, was a “no”. It’s still a temporary “no”, but it is a “no” nonetheless. What it does is place the Obama Administration in the awkward position of claiming to be all in for creating jobs while nixing a project that both sides admit will create them.
Obama had hoped to delay this decision until 2013, well after the election.
The decision today doesn’t kill the pipeline by any stretch, unless Trans Canada decides not to resubmit applications for permits that would reroute the pipeline from Nebraska’s Sand Hills. That’s unlikely. Word is they already have an alternative plan developed.
So what has happened today plays into the politics of the moment. In last month’s payroll tax cut extension signed by President Obama, Republicans had included a provision that precluded the administration from delaying a decision on the pipeline. In fact, it required a decision by Feb. 21st.
Now, apparently, the White House has complied with the law and blocked the pipeline. This, of course, comes on the heels of the President’s Jobs Council recommending the administration go “all in” on exploiting North American oil and gas assets. That included recommending fast approval for key pipelines, of which Keystone is among the top.
This then gives the GOP plenty of political fodder for the upcoming campaign. It’s hard to claim to be the jobs president when you disapprove projects that would clearly provide jobs and further, disapprove the project in the face of your own Jobs Council’s recommendation to do otherwise. It is also rather difficult to claim to “share the goal of expanding domestic oil and gas production” as Presidential spokesperson Jay Carney said yesterday when you’re turning down a project that could do exactly that.
And, of course, a key constituency, who has been all for the construction of the pipeline has now been thrown under the bus. I’m talking about unions.
So, politically speaking, not a good one for the O.
Oh, and one more thing that can be made very clear to those upset by the administration’s decision. If you want to see the pipeline built there is a fairly easy solution.
Make Obama a one-term president.