Keystone Cops: State Department Says if Congress Forces a Rapid Decision, It Will Be Forced to Reject Pipeline Permit

The House GOP has said it will pass a bill holding the payroll tax cut extension hostage to accelerating the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline decision.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) predicted Monday that measure would pass the House.

At the State Department’s daily briefing, a reporter asked about this and the answer was a firm, “go ahead, make my day”:

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the proposed Congressional action requiring the State Department to make a determination on the Keystone pipeline within 60 days of enactment of the House version of the payroll tax cut bill?

ANSWER: It is the President’s prerogative to lead and manage the foreign policy of the United States, and in the case of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, our relations with Canada. This historical prerogative encompasses the President’s long-established authority to supervise the permitting process for transboundary pipelines.

The President has delegated his authority to supervise this permitting process, by executive order, to the Department of the State. This process for determining whether to issue permits for transborder pipelines has been in place for more than 40 years.

In determining whether a permit is in the national interest, this process requires consideration of a myriad of factors, including environmental and safety issues, energy security, economic impact, and foreign policy, as well as consultation with at least 8 federal agencies and inputs from the public and stakeholders – including Congress.

The State Department has led a rigorous, thorough, and transparent process that must run its course to obtain the necessary information to make an informed decision on behalf of the national interest. Should Congress impose an arbitrary deadline for the permit decision, its actions would not only compromise the process, it would prohibit the Department from acting consistently with National Environmental Policy Act requirements by not allowing sufficient time for the development of this information. In the absence of properly completing the process, the Department would be unable to make a determination to issue a permit for this project.

The State Department is currently in the process of obtaining additional information regarding alternate routes that avoid the Sand Hills in Nebraska. Based on preliminary consultations with the State of Nebraska and the permit applicant, the Department believes the review process could be completed in time for a decision to be made in first quarter 2013.

Bang. Bang.

It’s worth noting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said last week: “If the House sends us their bill with Keystone in it, they are just wasting valuable time because it will not pass the Senate.” And President Obama said: “Any Effort to Tie Keystone to the Payroll Tax Cut, I Will Reject.”

Good to see the State Department switch from Kops to Cops.

8 Responses to Keystone Cops: State Department Says if Congress Forces a Rapid Decision, It Will Be Forced to Reject Pipeline Permit

  1. Looks like TransCanada and Big Tar got a little too greedy…er, irrationally exuberant…at the top of the carbon bubble. Oops.

    The IEA is just the latest to point out the dangerous carbon bubble we are in.

    Anyone who keeps building big new dirty energy infrastructure at this point is being reckless and deserves the bankruptcy that will certainly come along as they are forced to abandon their bad bets in the face of our ever more destabilized and damaging climate system.

    Laws of physics will “win”…

  2. ryan says:

    too late for tar sands here in CO. Denver water supply has been affected.

    updates are here:

    a commenter in a fly fisherman forum reported dead carp downstream from the spill. we noticed a seriously messed up female mallard near the site. Suncor security was present but no environmental officials/EPA. anyone interested in updates or contribuing to a crowd-funded effort to test biochar as a DIY bioremediation tool can contact we have some filmakers interested in documenting this but are looking for funding to get it done ASAP. the area is pretty fouled up still – smells horrible.

    “Meanwhile, benzene and other hydrocarbons have contaminated water supply sources for communities north of Denver. EPA found benzene levels were five hundred times safe levels and nearly a hundred times safe drinking levels at the confluence of the South Platte River. Possibly most disturbing, after mitigation measures had been put in place, benzene concentrations on the other side of the South Platte River were twenty times safe drinking levels.”

  3. Leif says:

    Be sure and trot this little bit of info over to the State Department Joe. Some of those unknown effects of too much CO2. Methane running amok in the atmosphere already. Hard to cork this in my view.

  4. Raul M. says:

    thanks Leif,
    But I’m not sure what I read.
    Is that 800 million tones a year for the 2011 year?
    Or close to a gigaton times 100 for the first few years?
    I don’t have a clue to what I read.
    I think that some group should figure out what the study means.

  5. Raul M. says:

    But the plumes sound large enough to not mix that well into the air at first and that the winds could carry the plume remains in a direction enough to more directly affect the weather in a region. Natural geoengeering.
    Scary au natural.

  6. Lionel A says:

    Meanwhile Canada reneges on Kyoto. Surprise! Surprise!

  7. Raul M. says:

    Is there such a thing as a solar powered service satellite that would go around in space repositioning other satellites that are still good but have only lost some aloft?

  8. Mike Roddy says:

    Canada is now a rogue state, even more so than the US. Besides the Tar Sands, they continue to clearcut old growth forests in slow growing northern latitudes, destroying key carbon sinks.

    Their politeness is getting old. Time for awake Canadians to show some spunk.