William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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A NO BRAINER, HANDLED BY PEOPLE WITH NO BRAINS – AT 11:37 A.M. ET:  Remember that we were told a decision would be made about the Keystone Pipeline after the election?  The pipeline, opposed by knee-jerk "environmentalists," is really a no-brainer:  It would carry Canadian oil to our refineries along the Gulf Coast, vastly helping both the U.S. and our closest partner, Canada.

We'd assumed Obama would show some sanity and approve the pipeline.  No such luck: 

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The Obama administration's decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline will not be made until at least June, a U.S. official said, which would delay the project for months and frustrate backers of Canada's oil sands.

"We're talking the beginning of summer at the earliest," said the source, who did not want to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the TransCanada Corp project, which has been pending for more than four and a half years. "It's not weeks until the final decision. It's months."

A series of steps still have to be taken by the State Department, where the decision will be made because the 830,000 barrels per day crude oil pipeline crosses the national border. The pipeline will link Alberta's oil sands and North Dakota's Bakken shale fields to refineries and ports in Texas.

The State Department did not comment for this story, but last week a spokeswoman said it did not anticipate making the decision before the end of March. Previously, the department had hinted the decision could come in the middle of the first quarter.

The administration may be delaying because the pipeline has become a symbol for both opponents and supporters of development of Canada's vast oil sands.

Environmentalists concerned about the carbon footprint of the oil sands have seen the decision as the most important President Barack Obama will make on climate change.

Climate change?  Didn't they used to call that "global warming" before some of the "data" started falling apart?

Proponents say the $5.3 billion project would pour capital into the dismal economy, provide thousands of jobs, and hasten North American energy independence.

And...

The delay is painful in Canada which is suffering persistent, discounted prices for its oil because tight pipeline capacity. The premier of the Western Canadian province of Alberta warned last week that it faced a $6 billion revenue shortfall due to current pipeline constraints.

COMMENT:  Obama's treatment of Canada has been awful.  He has this knack for antagonizing friends and pleasing enemies.  He's so....Hagelian. 

The pipeline should be approved, right now.  We need it.  Canada needs it.  It is no great threat to the environment, but will help this country become energy independent, an extraordinarily worthy goal.

February 2, 2013