Politics behind delay on pipeline

It has become clear politics is the only thing preventing President Barack Obama from deciding whether to approve the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. That ought to infuriate thousands of construction workers who could be working on the project as early as this summer, not to mention millions of Americans who could be paying less for fuel if the pipeline is built.

A few months ago, the State Department revealed that, after years of study, it could find no reason to prohibit the pipeline, which is intended to bring oil from Canada to the U.S. That seemed to be the last thing in the way of a decision by Obama.

But five years of delaying a decision, even after study after study found no environmental concern serious enough to reject the pipeline, seem to have emboldened the president. If the public would tolerate that much delay, why not a few more months – until after the elections in November?

So, last week, the State Department announced another delay in the review process. Holding off on a decision until after November will mean the entire 2014 construction season will be missed.

It is a measure of the friendship between our two nations that Canadian officials have not already decided to forget about Keystone XL and sell their oil to China. That is a very real prospect.

If that happens, it at least will get Obama off the hook. He will not have to risk the political fallout of a decision, one way or the other. And that, it seems, is his primary concern.

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