As the Obama Administration announced today it would be delaying the Keystone Pipeline XL project, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) says is calling the delay “unacceptable.” However, Landrieu has donated to some of the most infamous anti-Keystone Pipeline senators, including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV).
Citing that officials need an extension to review approximately 2.5 million public comments, and to assess the impact of a pending lawsuit in Nebraska that could change the route of the pipeline, the delay could push the project as far back as after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
In its statement, the department, citing an “unprecedented” number of public comments on Keystone, did not provide a specific date for the end of the review.
“The permit process will conclude once factors that have a significant impact on determining the national interest of the proposed project have been evaluated and appropriately reflected in the decision documents,” the statement said, not providing a specific deadline. “The Department will give the agencies sufficient time to submit their views.”
After the announcement, Landrieu, who serves as Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released a statement of her own, saying that she would use her chairmanship as a means to push the project forward.
“Today’s decision by the Administration amounts to nothing short of an indefinite delay of the Keystone Pipeline,” said Landrieu. “This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable. By making it clear that they will not move the process forward until there is a resolution in a lawsuit in Nebraska, the administration is sending a signal that the small minority who oppose the pipeline can tie up the process in court forever. There are 42,000 jobs, $20 billion in economic activity and North America’s energy security at stake.”
Landrieu, though, meets Democrat opponents on the Keystone issue, some of which she has helped get re-elected. Barbara Boxer, whom Landrieu donated $10,000 to in the 2010 election cycle, said she was glad to see the administration delay the pipeline.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said the State Department did the right thing in pushing back the review, “given the unprecedented number of comments from the public.”
Boxer and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who Landrieu gave $2,500 to in 2010 and later $7,500 to in 2012, have been adamant in their opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, claiming that the pipeline has the potential to cause cancer.
“The Environmental Impact Statement was woefully inadequate when it came to exploring human impacts of the pipeline,” Boxer said Wednesday at a press conference held with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and anti-Keystone XL activists and environmentalists.
She said Keystone would add pollutants to the air that will increase the likelihood of people getting cancer or heart disease.
“I do believe the public health impacts are something that average people can really relate to because they know cancer is the second leading cause of death in this country — heart disease is number one — and all of this filthy air contributes to both of those,” she said.
Boxer and Whitehouse will send a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry detailing the health impacts of the pipeline, which they hope he will consider when determining whether Keystone XL is in the nation’s best interests.
Also, Landrieu donated $10,000 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010. But, Reid, like Boxer, made headlines back in 2011 when he sent a letter to Hilary Clinton, calling the pipeline “unsustainable” and “dirty,” as reported by the Washington Post.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Oct. 5, saying he had “serious concern” about allowing TransCanada to construct and operate a 1,700-mile-long pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta, and Port Arthur, Tex.
“The proponents of this pipeline would be wiser to invest instead in job-creating clean energy projects, like renewable power, energy efficiency or advanced vehicles and fuels that would employ thousands of people in the United States rather than increasing our dependency on unsustainable supplies of dirty and polluting oil that could easily be exported,” Reid wrote.
The letter marked the first time that Reid weighed in on the question of whether the pipeline should go forward.
The State Department released a report back in January in which it found that the Keystone Pipeline would not significantly contribute to carbon pollution. In a similar report, the State Department said during the construction of the pipeline, alone, the project would create 42,000 jobs.
And, as Forbes reported, “Economists, meanwhile, have found that the pipeline would create 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs and an additional 118,000 spin-off jobs.”