The Obama administration announced Thursday it would delay a politically explosive decision on the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline until after the 2012 elections.
The pipeline is especially treacherous waters for President Obama because it splits key elements of his base. While green groups oppose it, several major unions are pushing for approval.
Keystone had become a serious thorn in Obama’a side, with environmental groups warning they’d feel betrayed if the pipeline moved forward.
Business groups and unions had heralded the thousands of jobs they said would be created through the pipeline’s approval, something that likely weighed on a White House waging a reelection fight amid 9 percent unemployment.
The divide meant Obama could not help but disappoint one of the two sides with a definitive decision by his administration.
Instead, the administration announced a new evaluation of the project’s route to determine whether it would be safe for the public and environment.
“Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood,” Obama said in a statement.
The administration said that the final decision on the project will be based on a range of environmental issues – including climate change –
American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard also accused the White House of making a decision based on politics, alleging that no more environmental review is needed for the pipeline that State has been weighing for years.
“This is about politics and keeping a radical constituency opposed to any and all oil and gas development in the president’s camp in November 2012,” he said.
Environmentalists, which have made killing the pipeline a top priority, welcomed the decision but made clear they will continue pressing the White House to reject the project outright.
“The president should know that nothing that happened today changes our position — we’re unequivocal in our opposition,” said Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org who is a key organizer behind the anti-Keystone movement.
“If this pipeline proposal re-emerges from the review process intact we will use every form of nonviolent civil disobedience to keep it from ever being built,” he said...More at The Hill
More from the environmental front....
When Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson recently ridiculed her opponents as thinking of EPA officials as "jack-booted thugs," she should have thought through exactly why so many Republican candidates are calling for the abolition of the EPA -- and getting applause for it.
The fact is that many do view the EPA as trampling on their rights. Yet Jackson would have us believe that the alternative to the EPA as currently constituted is environmental degradation and pollution as far as the eye can see.
The fact is that we can balance the concerns of civil liberty and environmental protection without the EPA, regardless of whether the agency officials wear jackboots or loafers...More at The American Spectator