In December, Congress tucked a provision into the bill extending payroll tax reductions that required Obama to make a decision within two months on the Keystone XL project — an oil pipeline from Canada all the way across the US to the Gulf of Mexico. But they weren’t actually expecting the Obama administration to make a decision that fast. After all, the State department has not even finished their review of the project. What they really wanted was a talking point for the upcoming election. And they got it.
The real problem is not the pipeline, but the politicization of decisions like this. Where is the calm and reasoned discussion of the merits and disadvantages of this pipeline? Or a comparison with alternatives? The fact that the pipeline has become a political football means we may never have that discussion.