White House Disputes Report on Keystone XL Decision

None

National Journal
Jason Plautz
April 23, 2014, 3:48 p.m.

The White House is push­ing back against a Rolling Stone magazine story that cites two “high-level” Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion sources say­ing Pres­id­ent Obama in­tends to re­ject the Key­stone XL pipeline.

“Nobody who knows POTUS’ think­ing on Key­stone is talk­ing and nobody who is talk­ing knows,” White House spokes­man Matt Lehrich said on Twit­ter Wed­nes­day even­ing.

In the Rolling Stone story pub­lished on­line Wed­nes­day, vet­er­an cli­mate writer Jeff Goodell writes that the un­named ad­min­is­tra­tion sources told him Obama has “all but de­cided to deny the per­mit for the pipeline,” al­though the piece notes “no fi­nal de­cision has been made.”

Later, the story quotes an “Obama in­sider” as say­ing “if the pres­id­ent is really ser­i­ous about his leg­acy on cli­mate change, he can’t have that and ap­prove Key­stone.”

“The only ques­tion now is the tim­ing of the an­nounce­ment,” the in­sider is quoted as say­ing.

But Lehrich con­tin­ued the push­back in a second tweet, ar­guing that the out­come of the on­go­ing re­view hasn’t been de­cided.

“Na­tion­al in­terest de­term­in­a­tion be­ing eval­u­ated at State De­part­ment in keep­ing with long­stand­ing tra­di­tion. Will be made on mer­its,” he said, re­peat­ing the stand­ard White House line and prac­tice of re­fer­ring ques­tions to State.

The State De­part­ment is lead­ing the fed­er­al re­view of Tran­sCanada’s pro­posed pipeline that would bring hun­dreds of thou­sands of bar­rels of oil daily from Al­berta’s oil sands pro­jects to Gulf Coast re­finer­ies.

The Rolling Stone story, which is broadly about Obama’s work on cli­mate change, spread like brush­fire on so­cial me­dia with­in hours of pub­lish­ing Wed­nes­day.

That un­der­scores the in­tense in­terest in the up-or-down de­cision Obama will ul­ti­mately make to settle one of the biggest en­vir­on­ment­al and lob­by­ing battles in years.

Even nor­mally wonky steps like a State De­part­ment en­vir­on­ment­al im­pact state­ment have promp­ted break­ing news alerts, a sign of just how fiercely the pro­cess is be­ing tracked.

The State De­part­ment an­nounced last week that it would ex­tend the dead­line for re­view of the per­mit, cit­ing an on­go­ing Neb­raska court battle over the state law used to ap­prove the route through that state. That will likely push the de­cision past the Novem­ber midterm elec­tions and guar­an­tees that for months to come, all sides will be clam­or­ing for a hint of the fi­nal call.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
ARE YOU THE GATEKEEPER?
Sanders: Obama Is a Progressive
19 hours ago
THE LATEST

“Do I think President Obama is a progressive? Yeah, I do,” said Bernie Sanders, in response to a direct question in tonight’s debate. “I think they’ve done a great job.” But Hillary Clinton wasn’t content to sit out the latest chapter in the great debate over the definition of progressivism. “In your definition, with you being the gatekeeper of progressivism, I don’t think anyone else fits that definition,” she told Sanders.

×