The principle of federalism in the United States has - once again - received a slap in the face from the Obama administration. In yet another affront to energy independence and prosperity in general, the administration has decided to delay a decision on the TransCanada Corp's rerouted Keystone XL pipeline until after March.
The decision is delayed despite the fact that the State Department had said it would make a decision before the end of March, despite the fact that work has already begun on the Texas to Oklahoma section of the pipeline, and despite the fact that the Nebraska governor already approved the pipeline --- and for good reason.
And the reason for the delay is that the State Department needs to issue a draft "environmental assessment." That should be helpful, and surely it won't be a waste of time or precious resources. And of course, the most important thing for Obama isn't the economy, or jobs, or plain old efficiency. The thing he appears most concerned about is a specific special interest group of environmentalists who are concerned about subjectively defined "ecologically sensitive" areas.
They're also concerned that oil sands crude is "carbon-intensive" to produce. That's pretty righteous of them, turning this into a global warming debate. And even the State Department itself has already said that the "line would not result in additional emissions because the oil would find its way to market if Keystone was not built."
Heritage's Nick Loris explains:
Environmental groups argue that the greenhouse gas intensity of Canadian tar sands oil will increase global warming. But blocking the Keystone XL pipeline is not going to stop Canadian oil extraction, and pipelines are proven to be the most environmentally safe way to transport oil.
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman already sent a letter to President Obama explaining the TransCanada would adhere to 57 safety conditions, including "rigorous pipeline design, testing, and the reporting of leaks in the line."
But alas, common sense is still not prevailing under Obama's tenure.