The thing that was promised and that everyone expected to happen, happened today. President Obama vetoed a bill that would have approved the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, criticizing what he saw as the intent to “circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest.” The Hill reports:
The veto — just the third of Obama’s presidency — was made in private and without fanfare, reflecting the tensions in the Democratic Party over whether the pipeline should be approved. […]“The presidential power to veto is one I take seriously … and because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety and environment — it has earned by veto, [the President said in his veto statement.]”
You’ll excuse us for not getting too excited about this—the veto is not the end of this increasingly frustrating saga of regulatory indecision. Six years after its initial proposal, the controversial pipeline is still stuck in limbo. The State Department is said to be readying a final decision, but we’ve heard that before, and recent court rulings in Nebraska have given John Kerry new excuses to avoid putting this issue to bed.Which is unfortunate, because Keystone has undeniably become something of a nuisance. Recently co-opted as a political football by the new GOP-controlled Congress, the pipeline’s approval no longer seems to hinge on its merits (if it did, Keystone would have been green lit years ago), but rather on the optics surrounding it. Greens have—bizarrely, it has to be said—made Keystone a make-or-break issue for Obama’s environmental legacy, seemingly abandoning all other issues for a project which report after report has concluded will have a negligible effect on global emissions.Let the dithering continue.