Keystone Pipeline appears unlikely to proceed under current US administration

The White House is not saying when US President Barack Obama will make his decision on the Keystone X-L pipeline, or what it will be, only that it will happen before he leaves office in January of 2017.

It has shrugged off recent claims by Republican Senator John Hoeven that Mr. Obama will announce his rejection of the Alberta to Texas pipeline link later this month, although he’s already mandated this month, steeper cuts on power plant emissions, citing the same alleged reason as his pipeline concerns, greenhouse gas emissions.

The President has already vetoed a bill from the Republican controlled Congress, which passed 270 to 152 in the House, and 62 to 36 in the Senate, and those margins are well short of the two-thirds majorities required, to override a Presidential veto.

Mr. Obama could still approve the project on his own authority, but neither side in the debate sees that as likely, since he’s already said, that in his view the environmental impacts outweigh any economic benefits.

TransCanada first applied for permits to build the pipeline in 2008, and under an executive order signed by former President Bush, the State Department is still, allegedly reviewing the proposal, to determine whether it’s in the national interest.

However, Mr. Obama can also override its recommendations, and ignore the fact his position has essentially divided his hitherto key Democratic constituencies, with solid keystone project support from big labour.

Now his final Presidential term he no longer needs to weigh any decision against re-election, and general president Terry O’Sullivan of the Laborers’ International Union called the Obama veto in February, “disgustingly predictable.”

For his part, Prime Minister Harper—believes the project will eventually go forward, but concedes Canada may have to wait for Mr. Obama to leave office.

“I think there’s very peculiar politics of this particular administration,” Harper said. “I believe that whether this project goes ahead or not on this administration it will ultimately go ahead under a subsequent administration.”

Meantime, TransCanada is also warning about the rising cost of the currently proposed, $12 billion cross Canada, Alberta to New Brunswick, Energy East pipeline, because of beluga whale location concerns.

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