Keystone Pipeline Delayed by State Dept. Until After Midterm Elections

Image: Keystone Pipeline Delayed by State Dept. Until After Midterm Elections

Monday, 21 Apr 2014 03:35 PM

By Nick Sanchez

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The Keystone XL pipeline was delayed yet again last week by the state department until after the November elections, and now the political calculus behind the decision is starting to become apparent.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz went on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday to assure voters that the president isn't at all considering politics in coming to his ultimate decision on the pipeline.

"As a member of Congress who represents hundreds of thousands of people in south Florida, I want to make sure the right decision is arrived at and that the president makes that decision carefully and doesn't factor politics into his decision, which I don’t think he is," she said on the show.

Schultz wouldn't comment on whether the delay would help the Democrats in the midterm elections, however.

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Jaime Fuller of The Washington Post posits that the delay not only takes the controversial pipeline off the table during the elections, but also gives Senate Democrats whose seats are in danger the chance to rail publicly against the delay — three of whom already have. At the same time it lets them "[take] the public's temperature before making any policy pronouncement this year."

Also at stake is cold, hard campaign cash, both the Post and The Wall Street Journal point out.

Americans for Prosperity, Karl Rove's conservative Super PAC, has planned to run ads against vulnerable Democrats like Mary Landrieu. She has the power to combat those ads with funds from billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer, who has said he may spend as much as $100 million during midterms. However, Steyer threatened in February to withhold those funds based on Landrieu's ultimate stance on energy and environment.

The WSJ acknowledged the brilliance of the delay tactic, which means, "Senate Democrats get to have it both ways. They can benefit this year from the riches of Mr. Steyer, who pronounced himself well pleased by the delay. But they can also run in support of the XL pipeline and the thousands of new jobs it would create."

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