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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Way to go Mr. President: Obama Doubts and Lower Gas Prices Cloud Keystone Future - Prospects for Pipeline’s Approval Are Dimming; People familiar with Mr. Obama’s thinking say he believes the pipeline’s symbolic and political importance outweighs its impact on the economy and climate change.

From The Wall Street Journal:

 Prospects for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline are dimming amid two recent developments: lower gasoline prices and increased skepticism from President Barack Obama, whose administration has been reviewing the proposed pipeline for more than six years.

Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. in 2008 applied for a permit for the project from the State Department, which reviews cross-border pipelines.

The administration has been waiting for the Nebraska Supreme Court to rule on a lawsuit brought by landowners who challenged a state law used to approve the pipeline’s path. That ruling is expected in the coming weeks and could clear the way for the administration to decide.

In making its decision—known as the national interest determination—the State Department considers energy security as well as environmental, geopolitical and economic impacts. Together, Mr. Obama’s recent comments suggest he doesn’t think Keystone is in the nation’s interest.

The president hasn’t always been so publicly skeptical. In March 2012, he stood alongside pipes in Cushing, Okla., and said his administration had approved dozens of oil and natural-gas pipelines, including from Canada.

“As long as I’m president, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people,” he said then.

People familiar with Mr. Obama’s thinking say he believes the pipeline’s symbolic and political importance outweighs its impact on the economy and climate change. Keystone has become bound up with his goal of making climate-change action a legacy of his presidency. Global oil prices may make it easier for him to reject Keystone. When the State Department issued an environmental assessment in January, prices were between $94 and $110 a barrel. Now they are between $55 and $61.

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