President Obama managed to punt the issue of Keystone XL Pipeline approval past the 2012 election, waiting until a new assessment by the State Department determined the impact of construction. That mollified his environmentalist base, and by extension encouraged Tom Steyer to throw money behind anti-Keystone candidates in 2013. It (obviously) frustrated Republicans, first when they lost the election anyway, second when they failed to attach Keystone to any of 2013's must-pass bills.
Well, the State Department's report is out. It gives the OK to Keystone, basically. The relevant jargon follows:
Cumulative impacts associated with the proposed Project and connected actions vary among individual environmental resources and locations. Generally, where long-term or permanent impacts from the proposed Project are absent, the potential for additive cumulative effects with other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future projects is negligible. Keystone’s CMRP and planned mitigation measures, individual federal and state agency permitting conditions, and/or existing laws and regulations would, if permitted, work to control potential impacts and reduce the proposed Project’s contribution to cumulative effects.
In crude political terms, it's perfect timing. Republicans have been wrestling over what to demand from the next round of debt limit negotiations; as I wrote earlier today, the latest idea is fairly terrible. Every time the GOP's slipped Keystone into a must-pass bill, the president's threatened to veto it. Can he reverse that position, and reverse his previous (and largely successful) stance against attaching any real policy to the debt limit? That would be tricky. Republicans will have an easy time asking for it, though.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.