One Year Ago Today, Obama Promised to Expedite Keystone XL

A day before the one-year anniversary of President Obama promising to expedite the Keystone XL pipeline in Cushing, Okla., his campaign arm Organizing for Action accused Senate Republicans of launching a “backhanded environmental attack.”


But proponents of the pipeline charge the administration is attacking the project through endless delays and unfulfilled promises.

“If you care about the environment, you need to know about what’s happening in the Senate right now, and you need to act quickly,” read the fundraising email, signed by Ivan Frishberg, OFA’s climate campaign manager.

“A smart budget that funds clean energy investments and measures to combat climate change is about to get stuffed full of anti-environmental amendments until it’s barely recognizable. Or at least that’s what some Republican senators are going to try to do,” the email to supporters continued. “They’ll try to block the EPA’s climate change rules, end renewable energy tax credits, and circumvent the State Department’s process evaluating the Keystone XL oil pipeline.”

“Today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done,” Obama said on March 22, 2012, during a highly touted stop at Keystone XL’s southern portion.

“So the southern leg of it we’re making a priority, and we’re going to go ahead and get that done,” the president continued. “The northern portion of it we’re going to have to review properly to make sure that the health and safety of the American people are protected. That’s common sense.”


Since then, Nebraska has approved a reroute of the planned pipeline through the state, but the administration has yet to give the project a green light.

“What will it take for the president to follow through on his promise to the American people to make the Keystone XL pipeline happen?” asked Senate Environment and Public Works Ranking Member David Vitter (R-La.). “The president has had a full year to ‘cut through the red tape,’ yet we’re still waiting for action. We cannot keep the American people waiting for good-paying jobs and lower gas prices when it is reasonably within grasp.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been pushing Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to get the process moving.

“Now that the Keystone XL Pipeline has undergone the most rigorous review process of any pipeline in U.S. history and demonstrated its environmental integrity, it is time to reap the benefits of this project,” Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) wrote Kerry a week ago. “…After nearly five years of exhaustive study and environmental review, the American people are anxiously awaiting this Administration’s national interest determination.”


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