Obama Leaves Keystone Pipeline Out of Speech

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 11:40 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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President Barack Obama spoke of the nation's oil and gas production in his State of the Union address Tuesday, but did not mention the long-awaited Keystone XL pipeline project or its progress.

Nebraska Republican Rep. Lee Terry certainly noticed, tweeting:



Some new action may be coming soon on the project, however. According to the Obama administration, the president's signature to allow the pipeline to cross the U.S.-Canada border depends on the State Department and its analysis on thousands of public comments on the pipeline's environmental impact, reports Reuters.

Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier this month that he hopes the analysis will be finished "soon," but American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard said his group expects State will release the environmental report as early as Thursday.

"We're expecting to hear the same conclusion that we've heard four times before: no significant impact on the environment," said Gerard.

State's report will have a huge impact on the Keystone project. If the study suggests the pipeline will not cause substantial increases in carbon emissions, it could help Obama decide to sign the legislation, Jason Grumet, a former energy adviser to Obama's 2008 campaign and now president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, told Reuters.

"If the analysis suggests that there are significant increases, it tilts the other way," Grumet said.

The pipeline, although not mentioned during the address, came up in advertising before and after the speech through advertising blocs bought by the Climate Action PAC calling for the pipeline to be rejected. 

Many Republicans, Canadian officials, and business groups have been pushing Obama to approve the pipeline, reports The Washington Examiner. 

"Early in 2013, President Obama met with Senate Republicans," said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Tuesday on the Senate floor. "He told us that we'd have an answer about the pipeline by the end of the year. That was 2013. The year's come, gone, the Keystone XL pipeline approval is still sitting on the president's desk."

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