Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined yesterday’s White House press briefing so they could kick it off with questions about President Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy.
One reporter asked whether impediments could be removed so that the Keystone XL pipeline could happen on Obama’s watch.
“The president never reached a judgment on the merits because it didn’t come here,” Salazar said. “It was at the State Department and they never reached a judgment on the merits.”
The proposal was at the State Department, which needed to give approval because of its Canadian border crossing, when Obama said in a January statement that Keystone was dead.
“The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said. “As a result, the secretary of state has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.”
The White House has since taken to heaping blame on House Republicans, saying last month Obama “welcomes” news that TransCanada, the company behind the squashed Keystone XL project, is proceeding with work on the southern leg of the pipeline and will reapply for the Canada-Nebraska section permit.
The timing of the announcement came as the administration was coming under increasing heat for rapidly rising energy prices.
“You had a Republican governor who I know who was very opposed to the initial configuration of that pipeline, and we’re still waiting to receive the application on the new pipeline,” Salazar added. “And so I think if people were to put politics aside, what they would say is TransCanada should come forward, put its proposed pipeline out on the table, and then have the process engaged so that it can be formally evaluated and a decision can be made on the merits.”