On Wednesday the Obama administration rejected the Keystone crude oil pipeline project, a decision welcomed by environmental groups but blasted by the domestic energy industry. President Barack Obama said TransCanada's application for the 1,700-mile (2,740-km) pipeline was denied because the State Department did not have enough time to complete the review process.
"This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people," Obama said in a statement.
With environmental groups concerned about carbon emissions from oil sands production, the administration in November delayed a decision on a presidential permit for the project until 2013, but lawmakers that support the project attached a measure to a tax-cut law passed at the end of last year that set a February deadline for a decision.
This move by Obama has nothing whatsoever to do with the pipeline projects merits and has everything to do with politics. The President has effectively "kicked the issue down the road" trying to put off the final decision until after the November Presidential elections. Now caught in the crossfire, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said several months ago that she supported the pipeline. Now she must watch as Obama uses her department as an excuse for rejecting the project.
You can bet that the Republicans will not let this issue go away and will use it as a campaign issue. That will give them some points as the vast majority of the country think the pipeline should go forward immediately, creating jobs and lowering our dependence on Middle-eastern oil (and, more to the real point, lowering gas prices at the pump).
Live Long and Prosper....