We’ve just rounded year three of waiting for the White House to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.What’s taking so long?
According to Hoover Institution energy analyst Jeremy Clark, there is simply no urgency at the White House on the issue, so they see no problem with continuously punting.
“I don’t think it’s unimportant, but it’s not so much at the core of his being that he’s going to spend all his political capital on it,” Clark told us Wednesday afternoon.
The project, run by energy infrastructure megafirm Transcanada, would carry Canadian crude oil to the Gulf. We’ve previously discussed why, though it may prove a short-term economic boon and may help relieve oil price volatility, it would not lower gas prices.
Technically, approval must come from the State Department. A department official recently told us there will be no decision until after March.
But the State Department’s decision is ultimately a recommendation, and the final say rests with him.
Clark believes the project will ultimately get approved — not doing so would create bad precedent and would infuriate Canada, he said.
But the decision will likely come as part of a package that sees the administration pass ostensibly off-setting climate change policy to placate environmentalists.
“I’m sure he’s gonna try to do a deal, that’s his nature,” Clark said. “He’s more of a ‘[voting] present’ type of guy. My sense is if I were to place a bet that he will choose to approve it, but it will be interesting to see what he offers environmentalists in return.”