Monday, February 27, 2012

Keystone a go: what will Redford say?

The White House has--I'm not kidding--agreed to allow TransCanada to begin construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Part of it, anyway. According to Politico, the White House signed off today on that portion of the pipeline that will run from Cushing, Oklahoma to Texas. White House spokesmodel Jay Carney had this to say:
We look forward to working with TransCanada to ensure that it is built in a safe, responsible and timely manner, and we commit to take every step possible to expedite the necessary federal permits.
That's nice. Of course, Carney also said this:
The reason why the Keystone XL required the review that it did is because it crossed, that pipeline crossed an international boundary. The State Department, by tradition and rule, reviews those requests for permits and was in the process of doing just that when the Republicans forced us to deny it because tried to compel the administration to grant a permit to a pipeline for which the route didn't even exist. Which was obviously was not the right thing to do.

Never mind that the sticking point was the Sand Hills region in Nebraska, not the international boundary, remember that only recently, Jay Carney claimed that "the President didn't turn down the Keystone pipeline." And today, he insisted that the now-approved portion of the pipeline was basically fine, all along. Funny how that tidbit was buried in previous briefings. And even funnier is how that tidbit escaped Obama's erstwhile environmentalist fan club, led by Robert Redford. Let's recall what Mr. Redford said, just last month:
The president stood up to Big Oil and listened to Americans saying: "We're done with fossil fuel schemes that destroy our land, poison our water and wreak havoc with our climate so that oil companies can make out like bandits." Now we need to continue to stand with the president and make it clear that tar sands pipelines are not in our national interest.
It should be fascinating to see what Redford has to say about this latest announcement from the White House. Will he brand the President a traitor to the cause, or will he excuse this portion of the project with a bit of sleight-of-hand, perhaps arguing that it possesses no real danger?

Of course, the Administration looks more than prepared to approve the remainder of the project. TransCanada  indicated it would reapply for the cross-border permit, and the White House signaled that it will be accommodating:
The White House also welcomed TransCanada’s decision to reapply for the cross-border Keystone permit. 
“We will ensure any project receives the important assessment it deserves, and will base a decision to provide a permit on the completion of that review,” Carney said in the statement.
Good news for the economy, good news Republicans that pushed for the pipeline (the White House can't spin it's way out of this: they capitulated, period), bad news for Redford and company. I think.

Cheers, all.

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