Nearly two weeks ago, the Obama administration denied a permit to TransCanada for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas. The outcome could not have been better for the environmental community, as Bill McKibben– mastermind behind the long string of protests in Washington– praised Obama for his decision. Everything seemed to be going well, until the Senate GOP gave it another crack.
Using the Commerce Clause, Senate GOP members proposed legislation that would bypass President Obama’s decision and approve TransCanada’s pipeline. The bill is sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), and Sens. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.). While the executive branch has power over boarder-crossing facilities, Congress does too under the U.S. constitution. Still, the bill must be approved by the Democrat-controlled Senate and Obama, who is sure to veto it.
And there is yet another option for Keystone. House speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has stated House Republics plan to attach Keystone XL provisions to upcoming infrastructure legislation, known as the American Energy and Infrastructure Act.
GOP members don’t seem to be resting on this now highly politicized issue, as it will surely become a talking point among Republican candidates. While Mr. Obama has plans to increase offshore drilling and natural gas development, hopefully he will stand firm on this issue.
My final view is this: Keystone XL is dead, so long as Mr. Obama and Democrats hold their ground.