Obama Can Still Kill Keystone Pipeline

The Senate approved the House bill extending the payroll tax. It’s only a two month extension, so we’ll be right back here again in almost no time. The provision requiring the federal government to speed up the approval process on the Keystone XL pipeline was left in the bill, which should be a good thing. But it doesn’t stop President Obama from simply killing the project.

 Republicans hailed inclusion of the pipeline provision as a victory, but Democrats said the practical effect of the language would be to kill the project.

“They’ve just killed the Keystone pipeline. They killed it because they forced the president to make a decision before he can make it so he’s not going to move forward with it,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and an ally of environmental groups.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he was not concerned about giving in to Republicans on the Keystone provision.

“The president is apparently just going to use the option given to him not to let it go [forward],” said Levin. “There’s a waiver in there which we understand the president is going to exercise.”

Well, it looks like the ball is in his court.

Update: Scared Monkeys linked – thanks!

Update 2: Apparently, the Senate did not approve the House bill. They approved their own version, and now the GOP leadership in the House is balking. I’ll have more in a separate post on Monday.