The Strange Logic of Keystone XL
In America's court system, you're innocent until proven guilty.
Following that logic, President Obama should approve the Keystone XL pipeline until or unless he can give a new reason not to.
Here's why: The final environmental review the State Department released Friday says that the pipeline probably won't exacerbate global warming (because it's unlikely to have a big impact on the development of Canada's oil sands). That's the test Obama imposed on the project in his June 2013 speech, and Keystone passed it.
Obama administration officials and environmentalists spent the waning hours of Friday and the whole weekend insisting that this report isn't a definitive signal of how the president will decide. Nonetheless, the burden of proof now lies within the administration to come up with another reason to deny the pipeline.
That won't be easy, but then again that's why this country has so many lawyers.
P.S. Do you think President Obama will approve Keystone? Click here to take NJ's Energy Poll...
TOP ENERGY NEWS
HOUSE DEMS SEEK DROUGHT HEARING. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and other Democrats want the House Natural Resources Committee to examine the impact of water shortages in the West.
- Our take: California's drought is likely to receive more and more attention as it worsens and people make connections to climate change.
LONG SLOG ON KEYSTONE CONTINUES. A final decision on the controversial pipeline is still months away, even with another hurdle cleared late last week.
WHITE HOUSE TO KEYSTONE ADVOCATES: NOT SO FAST. The administration's response to a key State Department finding on the pipeline left the president plenty of room to keep the project on ice.
GRAPHIC: KEYSTONE XL'S LONG ROAD. The application process for a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline is well into its sixth year with no clear end in sight.
KEYSTONE CONTINUES TO MAKE WAVES. The State Department's unveiling of its final environmental study of the Keystone XL pipeline brought aftershocks through the weekend.
GREENS STILL SEE RED ON NUCLEAR POWER. Major environmental groups are rejecting pleas from climate scientists to embrace building new reactors.
ENERGY DEPARTMENT WANTS TO MAKE YOUR PHONE CHARGER MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT. Stronger energy-efficiency standards could put close to $4 billion back in the pockets of American consumers.
CRUDE SHIPMENTS BENEFIT BARGE OPERATORS. With a boom in domestic oil production, crude is increasingly being moved over land and sea. (Paywall)
TOP DEMS GRAPPLE FOR WAXMAN'S POST. Reps. Anna Eshoo and Frank Pallone are squaring off in the race to become ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
OBAMA MAY USE EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY TO CONSERVE PUBLIC LANDS. The administration is eyeing tracts of land in New Mexico and California for protection under the Antiquities Act.
NATIONAL JOURNAL ENERGY POLL: Do you think President Obama will approve the Keystone XL pipeline?
A) Yes, before the 2014 midterm elections.
B) Yes, but after the 2014 midterm elections.
C) No, and he'll reject it before the midterm elections.
D) No, and he'll wait until after the midterm elections to reject it.
WHAT INSIDERS ARE SAYING…
SHOULD OBAMA GREEN-LIGHT KEYSTONE XL? Should President Obama approve or deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline?
"The fact that the State Department has issued its "fifth final environmental impact statement" is unambiguous evidence that President Obama is attempting to run out the clock to avoid making a decision as long as he can. Unlike Hamlet, who couldn't decide, the President simply won't decide. The delay in approving Keystone XL Pipeline's final leg is irresponsible." -William O'Keefe, chief executive officer, George C. Marshall Institute
"There are only two reasons someone would be for Keystone XL: greed or ignorance. The easy smart choice is to reject this boondoggle project. Mr. President?" -Bill Snape, senior counsel, Center for Biological Diversity
FISHERIES HEARING. The House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.
SENATE NOMINATIONS HEARING. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on the nominations of Rhea Suh to be assistant Interior secretary for fish and wildlife and parks and Janice Schneider to be assistant Interior secretary for land and minerals management.
WATER SUPPLY HEARING. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's Water and Wildlife Subcommittee holds a hearing titled Examination of the Safety and Security of Drinking Water Supplies Following the Central West Virginia Drinking Water Crisis.