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October 5, 2015

Is Federal Keystone XL Pipeline Fight On Hold Until After 2016 Elections?

As Connecting the Dots readers know, TransCanada’s application for federal approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline project has been pending for more than six years. With no decision on the project by the Obama administration in sight (though it is assumed President Barack Obama is leaning against approval), it now appears that TransCanada is readying forces to ensure the next U.S. president will ultimately decide the matter. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, “TransCanada Corp., is planning to drop state legal challenges and efforts to seize land in Nebraska for the pipeline” and “will embrace a state review process it had resisted years earlier, a move that company officials hope could extend the process in Washington.” The Journal reported that, in a statement, TransCanada said “that seeking approval through the state ‘is the clearest path to achieving route certainty’ for the pipeline in Nebraska. ‘It ultimately saves time, reduces conflict with those who oppose the project and sets clear rules for approval of the route.’” In general, most Republican presidential candidates have said they support approval of the pipeline project while Democratic candidates oppose it. 

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is facing a tough reelection fight, has pledged he will keep fighting for U.S. approval of the project. MSCI strongly supports approval of the Keystone Pipeline. 

As the U.S. Department of State has found, the project would create tens of thousands of jobs, improve safety and increase U.S. energy independence – all without have any significant impact on the U.S. environment. That’s why, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently noted, most Americans continue to support the project. According to a poll by the American Petroleum Institute, 68 percent of registered voters support building the Keystone XL Pipeline, including 91 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of Independents and 52 percent of Democrats.