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Obama Admin. Rejects Keystone Pipeline; TransCanada Can Reapply After Finding Alternate Route; Updated

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By Doug Powers  •  January 18, 2012 12:13 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Hot off the wire from the Washington Post:

The Obama administration will announce this afternoon it is rejecting a Canadian firm’s application for a permit to build and operate a massive oil pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border, according to sources who have been briefed on the matter.

However the administration will allow TransCanada to reapply after it develops an alternate route through the sensitive habitat of Nebraska’s Sandhills. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns will make the announcement, which comes in response to a congressionally-mandated deadline of Feb. 21 for action on the proposed Keystone pipeline.

In other words, the Obama State Department is allowing TransCanada to reapply after they find a route for the pipeline that avoids the delicate habitat where the endangered 2012 election lives.

Oh well, extending unemployment will create more jobs anyway according to the White House.

At this point, the “alternate route” for the Keystone project’s oil appears to lead to China.

Update: In a report released just yesterday, Obama’s own jobs council recommended increasing US energy independence in various ways, including pipelines:

President Obama’s jobs council called Tuesday for an “all-in approach” to energy policy that includes expanded oil-and-gas drilling as well as expediting energy projects like pipelines.

“[W]e should allow more access to oil, natural gas and coal opportunities on federal lands,” states the year-end report released Tuesday by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

The report does not specifically mention the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but it endorses moving forward quickly with projects that “deliver electricity and fuel,” including pipelines.

Update II: Obama’s statement is here. This part was interesting:

This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people. I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.

A commitment to reducing our dependence on oil. Not foreign oil, but oil. That certainly sounds like a judgment on the merits of the pipeline.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Barack Obama, Health care, New York Times, Paul Krugman