State Department: No Environmental Issues With Keystone Pipeline, What Will Obama Do?

The Keystone XL pipeline project has been delayed for years thanks to the foot dragging of the Obama administration. Today it was revealed that a review by the State Department found no significant environmental issues with the pipeline.

The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada moved a significant step toward completion Friday as the State Department raised no major environmental objections to its construction. The finding is likely to be welcomed by Republicans and some oil- and gas-producing states but is sure to further rankle environmentalists already at odds with President Barack Obama over his energy policy.

The department report stops short of recommending approval of the $7 billion pipeline, which has become a major symbol of the political debate over climate change. But the review gives Obama political cover if he chooses to endorse the pipeline in spite of opposition from many Democrats and environmental groups. Foes say the pipeline would carry “dirty oil” that contributes to global warming. They also worry about a spill.

So, what is President Obama going to do about it? Well, we don’t know.

The ball is back in Obama’s court. The president threw down the gauntlet during Tuesday’s State of the Union address, when he said he would act without Congress when Congress does do what he wants. Here’s an area where he doesn’t need Congress, but would have bipartisan support in both houses if he wants it — to go ahead and approve the pipeline.

Rumor has it that the GOP might trade an immigration bill for a green light on Keystone. That would be unfortunate.