State Dept gives Obama political cover to OK Keystone XL pipeline
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is running out of reasons to say no to Keystone XL, the proposed oil pipeline that’s long been looming over his environmental legacy.
Five years after the pipeline’s backers first asked the Obama administration for approval, the project remains in limbo, stuck in a complex regulatory process that has enabled Obama to put off what will inevitably be a politically explosive decision. But the release Friday of a long-awaited government report removes a major excuse for delay, ramping up pressure on the president to make a call.
The State Department’s report raised no significant environmental objections to the pipeline, marking a victory for proponents, who argue the project will create jobs and strengthen America’s energy security.
Environmentalists disagree and insist approval would fly in the face of Obama’s vaunted promise to fight climate change, even as the report gives him political cover to approve it. They argue the report, which provides a detailed assessment of tar sands emissions, offers Obama more than enough justification to oppose the pipeline.
Obama is not tipping his hand. But the White House pushed back on the notion that the pipeline is now headed for speedy approval. Only after various U.S. agencies and the public have a chance to weigh the report and other data will a decision be made, said White House spokesman Matt Lehrich.
Christie critics seize on ex-loyalist’s allegation that NJ governor knew about traffic tie-ups
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — As New Jersey lawmakers last year began investigating lane closures that caused four days of brutal traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge, Gov. Chris Christie was insistent about one thing: He did not know about the tie-ups until they were over.