If the President Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline, then it could create an opportunity for environmentalists to force a deal that will ensure another major climate policy is approved.
The White House insists that a decision will be made soon, and that the 1,700 mile pipeline will only be approved if it is in the economic, environmental, and security interests of the United States.
Obama’s administration has attempted to reduce the pressure of the decision by stating that it is merely “a simple permit application on an infrastructure project to transport oil from Alberta to refineries along the Gulf Coast,” as described in the NY Times.
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Environmentalists, on the other hand, including many of the presidents strongest supporters, have labelled the decision as being one of huge symbolic and political importance, and his opportunity to truly cement his legacy as the first president to seriously address climate change.
Paul Bledsoe, a former energy advisor to Bill Clinton, stated that, “presidents don’t get many opportunities to make big dramatic announcements. If and when he announces approval of Keystone, he has a once-in-a-term teachable moment on climate.”
Bledsoe suggests that if Obama plans to approve the pipeline, he should also use the opportunity to announce new regulations for existing coal-fired power plants which produce a third of the US’s greenhouse gas emissions. Another option could be to renew the push on a national clean energy standard.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com