Sen. Udall: “Legitimate Argument” to build Keystone Pipeline in “National Interest”; Obama Administration Approved 2009 Pipeline for Economic, Strategic Reasons
Colorado’s Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and President Barack Obama don’t appear to be on the same page when it comes to the recently sidelined Keystone XL pipeline that the Democratic administration rejected permitting for in January:
“‘I think there is a legitimate argument that it’s in the national interest to build the pipeline,’ said Udall, adding that it’s important that the administration work with Nebraska to find the right route before approving the Keystone project.”
Udall pointed to partisanship surrounding the Keystone XL project as the reason for its failure to receive a permit.
“It speaks to the fact that the Keystone XL debate has been infused with presidential politics, partisan politics, and has not had enough to do with the discussion of how do we truly become energy self-reliant,” said Udall.
But this stands in contrast to an earlier 2009 project the administration did back–and touted:
More than two years ago, on Aug. 20, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton approved a 1,000-mile pipeline that has the capacity to send 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada’s oil sands to Wisconsin. That pipeline is owned by the Canadian company Enbridge and began operating in October 2010.
What the U.S. Department of State had to say when the 2009 pipeline received approval:
“The Department found that the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests of the United States. These included increasing the diversity of available supplies among the United States’ worldwide crude oil sources in a time of considerable political tension in other major oil producing countries and regions; shortening the transportation pathway for crude oil supplies; and increasing crude oil supplies from a major non-Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producer. Canada is a stable and reliable ally and trading partner of the United States, with which we have free trade agreements which augment the security of this energy supply.
Approval of the permit sends a positive economic signal, in a difficult economic period, about the future reliability and availability of a portion of United States’ energy imports, and in the immediate term, this shovel-ready project will provide construction jobs for workers in the United States.”
Sen. Udall’s conclusions about legitimate arguments to be made that building a pipeline like Keystone XL represents a “national interest” simply corroborates the State Department’s own conclusions from 2009.
It would appear, however, that the administration is doing quite well playing presidential and partisan politics in the Keystone XL debate, placing political expediency–satisfying economic and strategic concerns in 2009 while favoring environmental arguments in 2011-12–above legitimate national interests when it comes to energy independence and economic growth.
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