posted on March 18, 2013 15:35
Democrats and Republicans alike anticipate that President Obama will approve the 1,700-mile, Alberta to Texas Keystone XL pipeline sometime this year.
The years-long debate over the politically beleaguered pipeline resumed last week, when congressional Republicans pressed Obama on the issue in two separate meetings on Capitol Hill. According to lawmakers in the meetings and aides familiar with what was said, Obama did not show his hand; he instead carefully articulated both sides of the argument and concluded that both were exaggerated.
That leaves the substantive debate over the pipeline in about the same spot as it was before the meetings, but the politics have shifted. Republicans are slightly more optimistic that if Obama were to approve the pipeline, it could break some of the stalemate that has plagued Washington the last few years.
Democratic strategists familiar with the administration's position on the project agree that Obama would likely pair approval of the pipeline with some significant action on climate change and clean energy.
If this theory is correct, one part of the "consolation prize" came on Mar. 15. According to Bloomberg News, Obama announced he will require all major federal agencies to consider the impact of global warming before approving major infrastructure projects, such as pipelines.
According to a draft environmental assessment by the State Department, which is responsible for reviewing international projects such as Keystone, the pipeline would not result in a net increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Translation: it would pass a tough review process that includes global warming impacts.