All it takes to draw a reaction from all parts of the political spectrum is a major announcement on a hot-button policy issue. Take this week’s announcement by the White House that it was denying the current application to build the Keystone XL Pipeline to carry crude oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. TransCanada is welcome to submit another application with an alternate route, but this week’s announcement may delay an ultimate up-or-down decision on the pipeline until after this fall’s elections.
Reaction to the decision was swift from all corners. All three of Montana’s representatives in Congress support the project and told us they disagreed with the decision, as did Attorney General Steve Bullock and Steve Daines, the Bozeman Republican running for Congress.
Plenty of special interest groups weighed in as well, with varying degrees of hyperbole.
The Young Republican National Federation told us that “President Obama has pandered to the worst instincts of his liberal supporters against American jobs and national security... President Obama has guaranteed that the Chinese will invest in energy resources in Canada.”
The Center for Rural Affairs took the other side and approved of this week’s decision: “We applaud President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton for making a common sense decision that protects both Nebraska and the entire nation,” said Johnathon Hladik, Energy Policy Advocate. “Approving the Keystone XL pipeline without an established route through Nebraska would amount to a failure on the part of our federal government to consider the best interests of the American people.”
The Sierra Club noted that the fight is not over: “Big Oil companies have launched an all-out assault on the president for not doing their bidding on Keystone XL. We will undoubtedly see a barrage of misinformation on Keystone XL from Big Oil in the form of flashy ads attacking the president.”
Friends of the Earth also supported the decision, and praised lots of folks for their role: “Victory belongs to the indigenous communities who first sounded the alarm on the dangers of tar sands extraction. To the Nebraska farmers and Texan ranchers who withstood TransCanada’s bullying to protect their land and water. To the 1,253 people, from college students to grandmothers (including a number of Friends of the Earth members, staff and activists), who were arrested on President Obama’s doorstep urging him to say no.”
Interestingly, although Jon Tester supports the project, the campaign of Denny Rehberg tied him to the decision delaying the pipeline: “Today’s job-killing decision by Tester’s allies in the Obama Administration hands a victory to the radical environmental obstructionists who bankroll Tester’s re-election campaign, and strikes a harsh blow to Montana workers and families who would have benefited from thousands of pipeline jobs and a projected $7.5 million in revenues added to Montana’s state treasury.”
A final decision on the pipeline is still to come. In the meantime, we can expect no shortage of opinions on whether the project is good or bad for the country, the oil industry and the environment.