According to CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg, Newsmax, and others, the Obama administration is set to oppose the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the latest signal that progressivism still has a voice in the White House. As to whom that voice is, exactly, and how big it is? That’s still up for debate.
As of right now, there are few details, most of them coming from the Washington Post which states Obama is said to reject the pipeline based on “sources that have been briefed on the matter.” But (there’s always a but) TransCanada, the firm applying for the permit to build the pipeline, will get another chance if it can design a route that avoids sensitive sandhill ecosystems in Nebraska. Regardless of whether this is the final decision, the president must settle the matter permanently by February 21st, a deadline mandated by Congress.
Before anyone runs through the neighborhood screaming three cheers for the progressive movement, the pipeline project is still under review and isn’t going anywhere soon. The Obama administration has a little over a month to make a final decision and there’s no reason why they wouldn’t use every available second on a decision that could make or break his on and off relationship with most of the progressive movement.
I’m a little more pessimistic about this whole thing. I think in the end the administration will approve at least a limited version of the pipeline because they (wrongly) believe it is in the national interest to do so. But at least for now, we progressives have a reason to celebrate. Not a big celebration—stick to the ten bucks and under stuff instead of shelling out for top shelf champagne—but it’s good news nonetheless. And while we breathe a sigh of relief we must remember to remain vigilant and educate ourselves about the issue. In fact, the State Department has been so kind as to publish the transcripts of all the meetings about the pipeline on their website and they’re well worth a read (for the kids: language warning. This is politics, after all).
Victory and vigilance are partners in the fight to preserve what’s left of America’s pristine environment. So while I give the president all the credit in the world for standing up to conservatives yelling “Where are the jobs?” and “’Merica!” by slowing the approval process, I’m not popping that cork until February 22nd.