The BRT blog recently observed that the Keystone XL pipeline showed no signs of fading as a powerful political and energy-policy-related issue. To say the least ...
Joe Nocera column, New York Times, "Poisoned Politics of Keystone XL," writing on the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to China, accompanied by government ministers including the outspoken minister of natural resources, Joe Oliver.
Oliver no longer talks so freely about the environmental critics of the Keystone pipeline; all of Harper’s ministers have been instructed to stop making comments that might be construed as interfering in the American presidential election. But there are other, more diplomatic, ways to send messages. Like going to China with your cabinet members and cutting energy deals with a country that has, as The Globe and Mail in Toronto put it recently, a “thirst for Canadian oil.” Oil, I might add, that may be a little dirtier than the crude that pours forth from the Saudi Arabian desert — that is one of the main reasons environmentalists say they oppose Keystone — but is hardly the environmental disaster many suppose.
I realize that President Obama rejected Keystone because, politically, he had no choice. My guess is that, in his centrist heart of hearts, the president wanted to approve it. But to give the go-ahead before the election was to risk losing the support of the environmentalists who make up an important part of his base.
Which invites the question, what is the definition of "centrist?"
The Hill reports, "Canadian PM in China trying to sell Keystone oil, says Sen. Hoeven," that being Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), sponsor of S. 2041, legislation to authorize the Keystone pipeline via Congressional approval. (Bill text.)
Alberta's energy minister opines that the pipeline will go through, post-election. "Obama Has Left Door Open for Keystone, Alberta’s Morton Says." The obstacles are political, Morton suggests.
U.S. House Republicans don't want to wait until 2013. From Reuters, "House Republicans Try Again to Force Keystone XL," the vehicle being the highway bill. In related news releases, "Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders Set the Record Straight on Keystone." Excerpt:
"We have been told that the new pipeline is not designed to increase supplies here, but rather to export supplies from the Gulf to other countries, including China. But that doesn’t pass the common sense test,” said Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “The real risk of losing out on this energy comes from not building the pipeline. If the U.S. refuses to allow this project to move forward, then not a single drop will come through Keystone XL to refiners in the Midwest and Gulf Coast. The Canadian government would have little choice, as they have made clear, but to pursue other markets for its growing oil production, including construction of a pipeline to the Pacific coast for export to China."
The Hill's excellent E2 Wire blog previewed today's fervent debates in Congress, "OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Keystone, drilling battles rage in both chambers." In the world of changing-the-topic,The Hill also reports on Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) trying to attach an autarkic "make it in America" provision to the bill, "Dems on Keystone pipeline: Only in America."
The Senate Finance Committee is now debating Chairman Max Baucus' version of the highway bill, which will invite an amendment on the Keystone pipeline.
Corporate Counsel has an interview with Marc Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries, Inc., which has been maligned as a self-interested manipulator of the debate over Keystone. The accusations are preposterous and political, and we're happy to link to the piece.
Motion to proceed to consideration of S. 744, #immigration bill, passes Senate by 84-15. Getting right into amendments.
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