Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Keystone XL pipeline to be rejected by Obama administration


The State Department on Wednesday will reject the Keystone XL pipeline, multiple sources following the project told POLITICO.

The formal announcement is expected at 3 p.m. from Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. Although the permit would be rejected, TransCanada would still be allowed to continue to work on and pitch an alternative route through Nebraska.

Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail have endlessly attacked President Barack Obama for putting environmental interests and the green lobby ahead of a project that they say would create thousands of jobs. Republicans scored a rare win this Congress by including a 60-day deadline for Obama to make a decision on the pipeline as part of the year-end deal on extending the payroll tax holiday.

But administration officials have been clear from the beginning that forcing a decision within 60 days would not yield enough time to make a final decision and that Republicans were doing so merely to create a new set of political talking points.
The official deadline for Obama to act is Feb. 21, but there was already speculation the announcement would come before next Tuesday’s State of the Union address, which would be the president’s biggest audience to defend his decision on the 1,700-mile pipeline.
“There’s a good argument to be made to politically take it off the table earlier if the assumption is that the decision is going to be no,” one House Democratic aide said. “You take a contentious issue off the table before the State of the Union ... and you’re allowed the room for the president to give his positive vision.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said if Obama did break the news during his speech it would send a big political signal. "I think it will be a clear sign that the president is willing to take on the Republicans," she said. "That's sort of setting the tone of how he's going to be proceeding forward."

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