Obama’s Keystone pipeline dilemma: Unions vs. environmentalists

An eagerly awaited impact study on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline was released on Friday, but it is still unclear as to whether the needed approvals will be coming any time soon.

In a post release conference call with reporters, the State Department spokesperson was noncommittal.

“It does call out where there could be impacts. It does call out what mitigation efforts could be,” assistant secretary, State Department Kerri-Ann Jones said. “But it really has no recommendations one way or the other. At this point we’re looking at this very, very objectively.”

But not everyone sees the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement as inconclusive. Upon reviewing the report, Consumer Energy Alliance Florida Executive Director Kevin Doyle issued the following:

“For months project opponents have tried to convince the public that moving forward with the pipeline would sacrifice our environment to the benefit of our economy.  The draft SEIS from the State Department clearly refutes this false choice.

“The document clearly shows the project will have minimal environmental impacts when TransCanada implements its proposed project Construction, Mitigation and Reclamation plan (CMRP) and refutes project opponents’ claims that the project will increase carbon emissions from oil sands development.

“We urge the U.S. State Department to finalize its review and the Administration to quickly approve the cross-border permit which will allow this critical project to move forward, create thousands of high paying jobs and provide the United States with a much-needed economic boost.”

In early February, CEA Florida sent a letter to newly confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry asking for support of the pipeline underscoring how important the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is for economic and energy security.

Because the pipeline is owned by a foreign company, the State Department has to sign off on it before it goes to the president for final approval. One analyst noted that Kerry has a “deep record as a carbon warrior.”

The Obama administration faces a dilemma in making the decision for fear of alienating competing constituencies. Environmentalists have long opposed the pipeline, but the unions want to see the thousands of jobs it will produce.

A copy of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement can be found on the State Department website. Once the draft of the SEIS is noticed in the Federal Register, a 45-day public comment period will begin.

See the Fox News report here:

 

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