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.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."