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Steps forward and a setback for pipeline

January 30, 2013 - Mike Maneval
Both positive and negative developments on the Keystone XL pipeline are surfacing in the new year, with a review of a new plan for the pipeline's route expected from the State Department this year, according to the American Prospect's Sarah Laskow.

The pipeline, of course, already is under construction, and has been since August, with portions installed in Oklahoma and Texas indicating the company pressing for the project either expects the eventual approval, or intends to transport oil across the U.S.-Canadian border by other means before pouring it into the pipeline. Earlier this month, the American Prospect reports, the Republican governor of Nebraska, whose skepticism about the project's original route through a key watershed in his state simply was ignored by proponents determined to treat opponents and critics as environmental extremists, endorsed the new route, which he said alleviated his concerns.

Despite these steps forward, Republicans in the Senate - many of whom embraced both efforts to irresponsibly reject prudence and deliberation in speeding approval of the pipeline's border crossing up and starry-eyed claims about the potential benefits of a good project with some manageable flaws - may have dealt the project a major setback. As Laskow reports, President Barack Obama's initial choice to head the department that shares responsibility for the decision on permitting the border crossing, diplomat Susan Rice, had ties to the fossil-fuels industry that could've indicated a greater willingness to consider the benefits of the pipeline. Senate Republicans made it clear Rice's nomination would face stonewalling and obstacles, and so she withdrew.

Whether the plan, as resubmitted, is approved in 2013 or is sent back for further improvement, it appears to me likely the pipeline will continue to be built, and the Obama administration will continue to attempt to responsibly develop domestic energy resources. And, while not the silver bullet the pipeline's proponents often seem to pretend it to be, this largely will be good news for American consumers and Americans seeking jobs.


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