Yesterday, I wrote that one of the top four ways the President can make good on his promise to uphold an “all of the above” energy policy would be to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline:
The Keystone XL pipeline would bring with it 20,000 much-needed jobs over time, and support thousands of other jobs in many sectors. That’s not to mention an additional 500,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada, our largest and most stable trading partner. This would inject our economy with billions of dollars in additional activity. … President Obama’s State Department can stop their delay tactics and approve the pipeline’s permit at any point.
Today, the pipeline cleared a major hurdle. The Associated Press reports:
The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada moved a significant step toward completion Friday as the State Department raised no major environmental objections to its construction.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the pipeline has passed environmental muster. During President Obama’s first term, the State Department conducted a study and found that the pipeline would not have any substantial environmental impact. However, the pipeline’s permit was still rejected by the President, and TransCanada, the company behind the project, was forced to reapply.
TransCanada did so, but the President postponed a decision until after the 2012 election. Meanwhile, other reports have found that the tar sands derived oil that will be transported by the pipeline is no more risky to transport than other kinds of crude oil and TransCanda has agreed to comply with ever more stringent construction conditions. The whole saga is described in greater detail here.
Due to the Administration’s past delay tactics, it’s too soon for taxpayers to start popping the champagne. But one thing is clear today: the President has run out of excuses to stop Keystone XL.