Policy: Environment & Energy

Obama to reject Keystone XL pipeline, claims Rolling Stone author

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Ashe Schow,Keystone XL,Energy and Environment,Tom Steyer

After five years of delays, reviews and excuses, President Obama has apparently “all but decided to deny the permit for the [Keystone XL] pipeline,” according to Rolling Stone author Jeff Goodell.

Goodell claimed that Obama's decision really is about politics, despite claims from the administration and Democrats that was not the case.

“Although no final decision has been made, two high-level sources in the Obama administration told me recently that the president has all but decided to deny the permit for the pipeline – a dramatic move that would light up Democratic voters and donors while further provoking the wrath of Big Oil,” Goodell said.

Goodell said Obama's motivation behind the pipeline decision came from two factors: The obvious first being what Goodell described as the “politics of climate change,” which is just code for money. Billionaire Tom Steyer is mentioned in the very next sentence.

The other motivation is Obama’s perceived mark on history.

“Taking action on climate is one of the most important goals in the president's second term,” White House adviser John Podesta told Goodell. “He feels a profound and urgent obligation to get as much done as he can before he leaves office.”

Goodell said how Obama came to his decision was a “closely guarded secret,” but that he was told by members of the administration that the pipeline would be rejected.

“If the president is really serious about his legacy on climate change, he can't have that and approve Keystone,” a member of the administration apparently told Goodell. “The only question now is the timing of the announcement.”

Goodell also said Jane Kleeb, founder of the anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska, told him Obama's latest pipeline delay was “a pretty brilliant move” that would shield red state Democrats from being blamed for the pipeline's rejection.

“Obama just used oil and gas to get red state dems elected,” Kleeb said. “No way will gas and oil push against [Louisiana Sen. Mary] Landrieu and [Alaska Sen. Mark] Begich.”

Yep, no politics at play there.

The White House, naturally, denied Goodell’s claims.

That's coming from Matt Lehrich, the assistant White House press secretary. He followed up that tweet by reminding folks that the Keystone XL pipeline decision still has to go through a national interest review at the State Department and assured people the decision would be “made on merits.”

Of course, we won’t know whether Goodell was right until the decision is actually made.

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