News broke late last week from Nebraska that Gov. Dave Heineman approved a re-routed version of the Keystone XL pipeline. The newly designed pipeline, which would bypass the northeastern edge of the Oglala aquifer, would be completed by the end of 2014 and result in the shipment of up to 830,000 barrels per day of Canadian heavy crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Assuming that the governor’s approval of the pipeline plan is followed by a benign Environmental Impact Statement (and there is nothing to suggest it should not) and a an uneventful comment period, we see the plan being promptly forwarded to the State Department (speaking in behalf of the President) for a National Interest Determination.
While the benefits to U.S. energy security are obvious and the environmental concerns appear to have been addressed, it would still not be surprising to see an imperious Barack Obama pander to the left-wing environmental lobby and require further changes in the pipeline construction process that might necessarily make the project less practicable.
Clearly emboldened by his reelection and no longer facing any need to appear as a moderate force in the government, such a tactical move should not surprise anyone. This is a man who wants to be seen as a leader yet continually puts his own interests and those of his far-left base ahead of the best interests of the country.