We reported yesterday that the Keystone XL pipeline would receive its long-awaited approval by Monday, and that promise was delivered quicker than expected.
Barack Obama had refused to authorize the pipeline since 2010, and officially blocked it in 2015. He forwent the opportunity to create tens of thousands of high paying jobs during a time when the economy was still recovering from the 2007-09 financial crisis. Of course, Obama was hardly known for being friendly to the economy, presiding over the slowest economy recovery since the 1950s, and setting a record as the only president to never see a single year of three percent economic growth.
According to Politico: TransCanada [the company who will be constructing the pipeline] announced it received the State Department permit. Now the company needs to receive approval of the pipeline’s route through Nebraska from state regulators there, a process that could take several more months.
During the presidential campaign, Trump had promised to approve the pipeline as part of a plan to boost U.S. energy production. And just days after taking office, Trump set a 60-day deadline for the State Department to decide whether to issue the permit for the project that will run nearly 1,200 miles across the U.S. and connect the oil sands fields in Alberta, Canada to the refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The Obama administration had cited environmental concerns in rejecting the permit in 2015. That decision came after a massive campaign by environmental groups that turned the pipeline into a symbol of their fight against expanding the use of fossils fuels blamed for causing climate change.
There are already 2.5 million miles of pipelines in the US, so why environmentalists thought that a few thousand miles extra were going to be the straw that broke the camels back, bringing on an environmental catastrophe. Additionally, pipelines are the safest way to transport fuel, so any alternatives that those obstructing pipelines inevitably would drive oil companies to would only increase the likelihood of an environmental incident.
Of course, pointing this out makes the mistake of assuming that those opposing the pipeline were being rational in their opposition.
Six years of obstruction is finally almost over. Hopefully those in Nebraska are more rational than your typical environmentalist.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]