Well, it’s official. The Obama Administration has rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Earlier today, Ross Kaminsky noted that the State Department will permit TransCanada to submit a new proposal. Never mind that TransCanada had also previously plotted and studied fourteen different routes before settling on the route that has now been rejected. Here is what I wrote about Keystone when the Obama Administration delayed its approval back in November. Following the delay, Republicans in Congress gave Obama an ultimatum to make a final decision about Keystone within 60 days, rather than after the 2012 election, as part of the payroll tax cut extension last month.
So where does TransCanada go from here? As of this writing, they have not yet provided a formal response. After the delay was announced, TransCanada indicated its willingness to re-route Keystone. But quite frankly I cannot see TransCanada submitting another proposal as long as President Obama is in the White House. I doubt any proposal submitted by TransCanada would mollify the environmentalists and it appears the environmentalists have trumped the unions on this issue. As long as this is the case, it would be hopeless impractical to submit any new proposal in the forseeable future. That is unless a different President is sworn into office in 368 days from now.
But is TransCanada prepared to wait that long? After the delay was announced, Prime Minister Stephen Harper indicated it would step up its effort to sell its oil to Asia. Indeed, Harper is set to visit China next month with just that purpose in mind.
In the meantime, you can be sure that Keystone will be raised in tomorrow night’s debate in Greenville, South Carolina. Earlier today, Newt Gingrich called the decision “a stunningly stupid thing to do.” It isn’t the first time Newt has commented on Keystone. During a GOP debate in Sioux City, Iowa back in December he called the Obama Administration’s decision to delay the project “utterly irrational.”